February 26, 2018
I’m a morning person, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m an early morning person. Yet, I find that the early hours of the day really offer a peace and stillness conducive to meeting with and hearing from God. Doing my devotions early is a sure way to put God first in my day. On those mornings that I acknowledge God from the moment I place my feet on the floor, my day is different. I deal with temptation differently. I respond to difficulty differently. I engage with God throughout the day differently. Setting aside early-morning time for personal devotions lets me dedicate the whole rest of the day to God. It could help you do the same.
Making time for personal devotions and getting into the habit of daily devotions are perennial challenges for any follower of Jesus. If morning is the time you feel most “with it” and energized—that’s the time to give to God. It’s easy to make personal devotions just another to-do item on your list: “Okay, I gotta read so many chapters of the Bible, pray for at least this long, and write this much in my journal.” However, it’s important to remember that devotions are more about purpose than a specific process. Romans 14:1-9 suggests that the mode of personal devotions is really a matter of conviction. What might work well for one person may not suit another. The point of devotions is not to check-off a list, but to be with God.
Devotions are about inviting God’s presence into your day. You might sit quietly, with a steaming cup of coffee, to watch the sunrise, sharing the experience with God. Perhaps you choose to wake up by reading a spiritually evocative book. If so, ask God to join in and enlighten you. Maybe the quietness of your pre-sunrise household allows you to better heed the Spirit’s leading as you read God’s Word. If you need some structure, a daily devotion, like Today, gets you into God’s Word, helps you reflect on his presence in your day-to-day life, and leads you into prayer. (And Today lands in your inbox pretty early.) Lastly, don’t rush. Let your morning devotions take as long as is needed to encounter your Savior.
While a habit of daily devotions is good, it’s more important to let God take the lead each and every time. Habits can be so...habitual. We just want to do the same thing again and again, as though we are following an unalterable formula. We lose sight of the purpose: to actually spend time with God. When we ask God to direct our devotions each morning, we give God the lead to set a whole different tone for the day ahead. If you’re anything like me, the issues confronting the day riot through your mind from the first moment you wake. This “noise” really hinders our ability to put the Lord first. Some sound advice I’ve heard before is to write down the thoughts that are cluttering my mind and lift them in prayer. This way, I surrender the agenda and my mindspace to God. When we let God set the agenda in those moments, his agenda becomes the foundation for the day. Early-morning devotional time lets you get ahead of everything else, and allows you to submit it all to the Lord.
Early-morning devotions give you the chance to turn the whole day over to the Lord. If you’re a morning person, you can give God your best energy. Even if you don’t care much for the morning, acknowledging God first thing, and asking him what he wants to do equips you to deal with the day’s challenges on a more solid footing.
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