OK….I admit it.
I did it again. And it seems I keep on doing it.
Do I have your attention now?
Maybe you’ve done it, too. Actually, it is probably more accurate to speak of what I have not done.
Oh, it’s not some horrible crime or obvious neglect. It’s just that daily struggle to put “first things first” and not be distracted.
This past Saturday I awoke with all the good intentions that I so often profess, and proceeded about my day. I probably threw in a load of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen a little and turned on my computer.
Once at my laptop, I probably looked for “just a minute” at Facebook, or checked “just a couple” of emails.
And before I knew it, it had happened again.
My intended priority is to spend some quiet time with God. But as so often is the case, I allow myself to be distracted by life. Yes, often by “good” and “necessary” actions, but not what I intend to be the priority.
There are tools, tricks and plans to help us with our morning routines and our devotional life, but the first gadget I need is discipline.
Why is it so hard to simply apply oneself to sitting quietly to read God’s Word, think and pray a little?
It’s an age-old flesh and blood struggle, my friend.
The apostle Paul speaks of this battle clearly in Romans 7, where he discusses this predicament. Pay special attention to verses fourteen to twenty-five, which discuss our familiar struggle between the flesh (our human feelings and desires), and the spirit (that inner part of us that belongs to God).
“21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[e] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
And the result? It varies between mediocrity and downright disaster. This particular Saturday was somewhere in between, with one of the first events being a “disagreement” between my husband and I. I don’t even remember what it was about; all I know is it brought upon me the sudden realization of my mistake.
I need God to get through this life. I need him more than the air I breathe. But in the natural flow of our normal days, it’s so easy to forget the absolute necessity of this relationship.
So you see how it is.
And I know you’ve felt it, too.
Even if you are not a Christian, don’t you notice how hard it is to do good and those things that are truly important on a consistent basis?
Thankfully, the answer is also found in this scripture. It’s in Christ Jesus our Lord. We first need to accept the gift of himself offered to us, and then we need to pursue this relationship with him.
It won’t be a “magic bullet” or some guarantee that everything will go right, but it sure is a step in the right direction.
I want to let the Holy Spirit guide my life (as stated in the Galatians passage above), and to stand and fight against the desires of my flesh. I know that when I put him first and apply my focus to what is best and most important, I at least have a chance of doing things his way.
In short, I’m more likely to have a better day.
Yes, the milk may still spill, there will be conflicts and questions, life will still be “real”…..but I will be prepared and my mind and spirit filled with the strength, peace and wisdom from God. He will show me and remind me of what I am to do, and Lord willing, I will do it.
I am excited to share with you soon about some of the “tools” I’ve found that can help us to have a more successful morning. But for today, I encourage you to do just one thing right first thing.
Spend time with him.
Do you struggle with doing what you know is important first thing in the morning? Do you intend to spend time with God first? What tools have you found to be helpful in setting proper priorities? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.