What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up? Do you scroll through Facebook, check your emails, work out, hit the snooze button for an extra 5 minutes? Most of us have our morning routine down to an art, whether the means that we roll out of bed 10 minutes before we need to head out the door, or we wake up 2 hours before we need to leave to make sure everything is in order for the day. But how many of us wake up, and open up the Bible to read it before we start our day? What we fill our mind with in the morning, is what we fill our thoughts with for the rest of the day. That’s why it’s so important that we begin our day by centring our hearts on the God. Only by drawing near to him will we be able to learn what his will is for our lives, and only by digging into his word are we able to show others his love and mercy for them.
It’s one thing to know that reading and studying the Bible every day not only increases our understanding of God but that is also transformations our attitude during the day, and it’s another thing altogether to experience it first-hand. For a long time I would read my Bible and do devotions sporadically, and only stick to passages or books of the Bible that I knew well. As you can imagine, this erratic, comfort-based approach to quiet time with God didn’t grow my faith all that much. It’s like running the same 5km over and over even though you know that you have the strength and stamina to run half a marathon; it doesn’t challenge you, and it doesn’t help grow you as a person.
Then one day I decided that my relationship with God had to become a higher priority in my life than a couple of extra hours of sleep. So I set my alarm for 6:00 am, and I’ve been getting up that time to do devos ever since. The transformation that took place in my heart was tangible, along with the way that I reacted to situations throughout my day. When I sat with God in the morning, I was calmer and less likely to act out of a place of annoyance. However, when I skipped my devo time or cut it short, I experienced my day from a place of stress and anxiety which resulted in my being more prone to snapping at people or getting aggravated by little things.
It’s amazing what happened when I started my day off focusing on the Creator instead of the creation. I walked into my day with my heart aligned with God, and my mindset to live out his will for my day, not my own. When we focus on the Author of our days rather than what fills our days, we no longer need to be anxious about what will happen in the hours that make up our lives. This intentional time spent in the word, and in the presence of God cultivates a life that is centred on his good purposes and fosters a spirit that wants every word and every action to flow from a place of godly love.
Now I know that someone of you who are reading this are not morning people and that waking up at 6:00 a.m. to make sure that you give yourself enough time to have a meaningful quiet time with God is not something you’d even consider doing. But I challenge those of you who feel like morning devotional times are out of your wheelhouse to look at the life of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus repeatedly woke up before sunrise and went out to a secluded place to pray.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” – Mark 1:35
It would have been easy for Jesus to continue his ministry without ever taking time to talk with God, after all, he’s the Son of God, so surely he knew what was going to happen throughout his lifetime. Yet he intentionally chose to go to a quiet place in the early morning hours to commune with his Father. And if Jesus found time to talk with God, then clearly we can too.
For each person purposefully preparing time to sit with God and study the Bible will look different. Obviously, not everyone is going to be able to wake up before dawn and talk with God, but everyone can find time to start their day in scripture. No matter how busy we are, there’s always a way to make sure that our day starts with our hearts allied with God’s so that our days and actions can be an outflowing of that. And trust me, once you make time with God a priority, your whole demeanour will change, and you’ll never want to go a morning without exploring the Bible before you start your day!