Last time, I talked about having a plan: the WHAT and the HOW. As we kick it off today, I'd like to talk a little bit about the WHEN and the WHY.
Much has been said and written on the merits of rising early to spend time with God. In theory, I say a hearty "amen," but the reality of it is I am not, and have never been, a morning person. (And yes, I did read this article claiming that anyone can become a morning person--I'm not convinced, or perhaps not motivated enough...the jury's still out.)
Because I am a night-owl by nature it was always easy for me to have a consistent devotional time once the rest of the world was asleep...until I had children. Suddenly my energy expired before my day ended. I would fall into bed, exhausted from the demands of my day, with nary a thought to reading anything, let alone retaining it. (Can I get an "amen," mamas?) So, my devotional time became rather sporadic.
Year after year, I would commit to rising early and spending time with God. Then one of the kids would get sick. Or there would be a rough night of teething, or nightmares, or leg cramps, or coughing, or...or...or...
The truth is, it doesn't matter when you spend time with God, it only matters that you do. You are not more spiritual if you rise at 5:00 a.m. for quiet time than if you do it at 11:00 p.m. But, if you don't plan a time, you won't make the time.
Telling yourself, I'll get to it sometime today (as I have often done) simply won't work. So, if you need to set the alarm for 5:30 or 6:00 and get it done before everyone is up, do it. If that won't work, do it when your kids take a nap, or on your lunch break, or right after dinner, or before you go to bed. Set a time (write it on your calendar if you need to), and stick to it.
Knowing that I'm exhausted in the evenings, I am committing (yes, again) to spend time with God in the morning. Yes, things will come up. There will be distractions. There will be opportunities to sleep in and skip it. But, for the next 30 days (at least), this is a priority. I will do everything in my power to stick to it. I invite you to do the same. We are in this together, and we can do it!
I'm sure the WHY is a given for most of us, but I don't want us to simply gloss over it. It's more than a New Year's resolution, or a good habit to develop. It's more than the "Christian thing to do."
I don't think it's too dramatic to say it's a matter of spiritual life or death.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:10, 11)
I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:101-105)
It is impossible to live out our faith if we don't know the principles of that faith; those principles are found in God's Word.
God's Word is how we discover who He is...His characteristics, His attributes, His promises. It's how we know the actions, attitudes, and practices to avoid (that lead to destruction) and those to pursue (that will lead to blessing).
Too often I have attempted to live out my Christian faith without having God's Word planted in my heart. If I have not read God's Word, I cannot hide it in my heart. If it is not hidden in my heart, it cannot keep me from sin.
That's what this challenge is about: growing together in wisdom, in faith, and in understanding of God's Word. So, let's do this!
Are you with me? I can't wait to see what God has in store for us! (Be sure to come back tomorrow for our first link-up!)
When is your scheduled time with God?
Why have you decided to make God's Word a priority this year?
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.