This morning I woke up with the urgent feeling that I had bills past due. So I got up at 5:40 to sift through the bills, magazines, to-do lists, empty envelopes, church notes and junk mail piled chaotically on my desk. I collected a thick stack of unpaid bills—particularly thick this month because of some medical appointments last month. Oh, the joys…
I spent my entire morning paying bills. For those of you who know me, you know that I treasure my mornings. I can’t wait to go to bed, just to wake up the next morning. And often when it arrives I jump out of bed, lips spread across my cheeks and exclaim “it’s morning!” to my husband who doesn’t hear me—he tuned out my voice along with his alarm clock long ago.
Mornings are my favorite. I LOVE my early-morning dates with Jesus. I LOVE the stillness. I LOVE the sunrise. Smile and sigh. Yes, this is my favorite time of day.
So, you can imagine how unpleasant I was this morning after spending 45 minutes writing checks, licking bitter envelopes and sorting through medical notices.
Then I went to work and was busy the rest of the day.
So what happens when we get busy and skip our daily devotions? What happens when we have bills to pay, kids to feed, work to attend, groceries to buy? How can we stay connected to Him even if we sleep in or wake up frantically to pay overdue bills as I did this morning?
As Christians, there are three basic levels on which we connect with God.
- We can know He is there with us throughout the day.
- We can set aside dates with Him — a time devoted to Him.
- We can connect intimately and intentionally with Him throughout the day.
I think about my relationship with my husband. These levels exist here as well:
- When we are in the same room (our only option in a 350 square-foot cottage), I know he is there with me even though we may be doing our own thing.
- We set aside dates to have a focused time devoted to one another.
- We connect intentionally throughout the day via phone calls, lunch breaks, etc.
We need all three levels to connect and grow with God. It is not enough to just know God is with us; it is not even enough to have an occasional date night with Jesus or daily devotionals. We must connect with Him throughout our day.
I am taking a spiritual disciplines course at Western Seminary. In three words, this class has motivated, enlightened, and challenged me. I have always felt close to God—now I feel intimate with God. The past two weeks we focused on the discipline of Biblical meditation. I meditated on Mark 12:30-31, the Greatest Commandment. I wrote out this verse and put it near the base of my monitor at work. I took a few minutes throughout the day to stop what I was doing, glance down at the peach-colored sticky note and quietly, yet audibly read the verse out loud, emphasizing different words each time. The Holy Spirit taught me, challenged me, and changed me as we connected throughout the day. As I meditated on the greatest commandment of all, I felt fellowship with the Spirit as He showed me when I wasn’t loving God and, by denying my flesh and focusing on scripture, taught me how to love God.
So, to walk in His light and fellowship with His Spirit daily, we must do two things:
1. Deny our flesh and practice truth
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
2. Draw near to Him—through His word, through prayer, through Biblical meditation
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
Come all who are weary and He will give you rest. Meditate on His word. Remove any sin that would separate you from Him and He will connect with you. Set aside time for Him within your day, but draw near to Him throughout your day.