March 1, 2012

Getting an Early Start

When my to-do list is long, I’ve learned that if I want to accomplish most of it, I need to do first the most important or challenging item. With that out of the way, the rest seem easy and gets finished more readily. 

Not that spending time with God is always challenging, but I’ve also learned that this needs to be first thing in the day because it is the most important. Hearing from God and getting my spiritual life in order sets the tone for the rest of the day. If I skip that or even procrastinate by doing other things, my attitude suffers. Being out of sorts can even make my family suffer.

There is plenty of evidence in the Bible that meeting God in the morning is a solid principle. Many vital events happened at that time of day, including the first mention of morning: “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:5) 

A quick word search showed more than 230 repeats of just the word “morning” and most of them involved profound events, or commands, or obedience to commands. For instance, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, he “rose early in the morning” in obedience to this test of faith. (God stopped the act and this man passed the test.) Other passages include this one from the experience of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. God told him to,
Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. (Exodus 34:2)
Other examples abound throughout the Old Testament and into the New. Perhaps the most significant concerns the example of Jesus Christ. Before a busy day of ministry, He rose “very early in the morning, while it was still dark” and left the others, going “to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35) 

As I’ve been rereading my spiritual journals, I’ve noted that I put the time of day on some of them. It was early in the morning, much earlier than I now get up for the day. While I can use the excuses that I’m older, or that I’ve had health problems, in reality, I could go to bed earlier and rise “very early in the morning.” Certainly, the days that does happen are marked. Meeting God and giving Him full attention before all else is an expression of an attitude toward His importance in my life and makes a significant impact on my day.

The last place “morning” is mentioned in the Bible is in Revelation. It isn’t about a time of day though, but give a name to the Person that I meet with each day.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
Perhaps this last use of the word “morning” suggests why this is the best part of the day to meet with God.

Lord, I’ve been thinking about setting my alarm a little earlier for a few reasons, but this is the best reason. I know that meeting with You can happen later and You are certainly available to talk with any time of the day. However, if I have made sleeping or doing anything else more important than You, then I need to rise up earlier as a spiritual discipline. It is a great way to make sure that my priorities are right and also to let You rightly set the tone for the rest of the day.

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