What’s the first thing you do when you awaken each morning? While I can’t admit to owning this ritual, I think the first thing we should do is thank God for the security and rest of the previous night and then ask Him how we can be used to build His Kingdom today. One reason we don’t live more powerful Kingdom lives is because we don’t begin our days with the intention of doing so.
We have no plan, yet we expect God to do great things in our lives. If we aren’t positioning our minds, attitude, and heart towards Him, how can we expect Him to be able to effectively use us?
God uses surrendered individuals, people who have no agenda other than to serve Him. We can’t serve God if we’re constantly focused on climbing the corporate ladder or building our own brand. We must be humble servants, just as Jesus was. If we aren’t beginning each day with the thought of how we can build His Kingdom, how do we imagine we ever will? We don’t know what the day before us holds, but if we surrender it to God, He will handle the rest. If we are attentive to His Spirit, opportunities will pop up from all directions. We must be looking for them and eager to take hold when they appear.
To respond to opportunities as they arise, we must move our focus from ourselves and towards God. When you take a step back and examine your life, you will discover how much of your activity is consumed with selfishness. It’s nauseating and pathetic. Christ suffered unspeakable brutalities on our behalf, but we can’t stand to be inconvenienced by trivialities. We too easily lose perspective on what He did for us. It’s my only explanation. How else does one account for the brazenness with which we live our lives?
Back to daily discipline: I recently read an article about “checkbox Christians”. These are people who spend time in prayer, read the Bible, give a little money, etc., for the sake of checking off the box and feeling good about their Christian service. Christ didn’t call us to be “checkbox Christians”. He called us to be wholly surrendered and devoted followers. But the point of the article was, if any of those disciplines are missing from your life, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to create a checklist to facilitate developing these habits.
At the end of the day, how many checkboxes you’ve ticked won’t get you into Heaven. Still, if you want to live a life resembling Jesus, you’ve got to spend time with Him. We need the daily discipline to acknowledge Him when we awaken from sleep each morning. This orients our mind towards Him and helps develop the proper perspective of how amazing He is, and how grateful we should be to serve such a Savior. Spending time reading His Word and talking with Him will help us grow in the knowledge of His love and character.
If you want to stay in shape, you must be disciplined about your exercise and eating habits. When you let the daily discipline slide, it doesn’t take too long for your stomach to slide in kind right over your belt! The same is true with spiritual disciplines. When we neglect them, we drift from God, His mission, and our calling. We can’t afford such a mistake; life is too short. We all need the daily discipline to seek Him first and surrender our days to Him.