Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! The 2020’s is upon us and I’ve been thinking of some goals for this year. To keep it brief, I’ve only included 3 related to the spiritual life:
1) Devotion Time in the Morning
Having devotion time early in the morning has worked best. I stopped for a while and had the mindset of “I’ll just do it later in the day”. Almost certainly, something will come up: phone calls, package delivery, chores, etc. Note, if you are ever waiting for a package, just start your devotion and someone will be knocking on your door to deliver a package (kidding, but it does happen). Early devotion time would also clear the mind up for the rest of the day.
Jesus practiced early morning devotion: And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35 ESV). I remember listening to a sermon mention that if you don’t do devotion before 9 am, the chances drops tremendously that you would do it at all later in the day. There’s quote that goes something like this: If the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy.
2) Develop a Mental Model / Timeline of the Gospel Events
If you’ve ever read the Gospels, there are overlapping and parallel events that happens within the books. It gets confusing. I found a pamphlet that lays out the events of the Gospel. There’s a side by side comparison and references so that I could follow along. It’s a lot easier to wrap my head around the life of Jesus when the events are in a chronological order. Using a chart / graph in devotion is not what one would consider the typical spiritual endeavor, but whatever works. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might also try this with the genealogy that led up to Jesus.
3) A Consistent Sabbath day
Number Four on the Big Ten is: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work” (Exodus 20:8-9). This is more relevant than ever in the fast pace and always connected world that we live in. Having a true day off will strengthen our trust in God. Things will not break down while we are away. Rest helps regenerate the mental and physical body.
A true day off develops discipline to finish tasks within a given time frame. It forces you to do the most important work with the limited time available. I’ve tried using a stopwatch when working. The stopwatch is on when doing work. When I start to wander or get off track, I pause it. The perceived work time and actual work time is a Lot different. If a 24 hour break is not possible, try 12, try 16, and work your way up.
Have a blessed start to the New Year!