Much has been written and discussed about technology’s encroachment on our lives. I’ve been greatly aided by friends who have looked at this problem with a theological eye (Note Tim Challies book, The Next Story and Al Mohler’s many blogposts on the subject). Most agree that computers, tablets, smart phones, and social media are not going away. In fact, we can expect the avalanche to get bigger (Have you chosen your circles for Google+ yet?).
This has made me think a lot as we stand on the porch of a new year. Kim and I have been talking about what Bible reading plan we are going to use this year. If you are undecided, Justin Taylor has some helpful options. And thinking about a new year of Bible reading has made me reconsider my schedule, which is always a humbling reflection of my priorities.
Looking back over the habits I’ve formed over the past year has, well, deeply disappointed me. The question I am asking myself is what is the first leaning of my heart when I wake up. I remember hearing C.J. Mahaney explain the battle he faces each morning when he wakes up and attacking his flesh with prayer at his first waking moment. I think we are all on the same battlefield.
So what is the first thing you do when you wake up? Here’s my problem. I find it easy to grab my iPhone and check my email, glance at social media notifications, see if there are any texts awaiting a response, and look at the news and sports feeds. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing these things. But my problem is that this is much easier and feels more urgent when I awake than addressing the thirst of my soul for God.
Back to the question, what is the first concern of your day?
I’m not much on New Year’s resolutions, but this is one area I want to focus on this year. Is there a better way to begin the day than with the thought of God? Maurice Roberts writes:
The thought of God should be the Christian’s panacea. It should cure all ills at a stroke. And what an infinity there is in the thought of God! Nothing can approach in beauty to the idea of the true and living God. That there exists a Being who is infinite in power, knowledge and goodness, that that Being cares for me with a perfect love as though I were the only man in existence, that He loved me before I was born and created me to enjoy Him eternally and that He sent his Son to suffer the agony of the cross to secure my eternal happiness—that, surely must be the thought to end all sorrow.
My prayer for my own soul, and yours, is that we develop the discipline of beginning the day with the thought of God, fed by the Word of God, for the glory of God, and enjoy the grace of God for our days.
Here are a few simple suggestions for starting your day before you even get out of bed.
- Pray. Ask God for His grace to motivate you to approach this day as His holy child and faithful ambassador.
- Think. Even before you begin this new day, revisit what you learned of God and the gospel yesterday. This will begin a chain link of Godward thinking.
- Plan. How will you prioritize your reading of God’s Word today? Hopefully, this plan has already been made. But making a fresh commitment before your feet hit the ground to execute that plan will greatly increase your control over your day.
- Say “No!” Every morning will bring new opportunities to do things other than spiritual disciplines. Learn to say “No!” to those things because you have another set of commitments to do before getting to them.
Much more could be said. You can add your comments below to help us in the discipline of beginning the day. For 2012, I want to have better beginnings to my days. I hope you do too.