Lately, my mornings have consisted of three stages of alarms, starting at the chipper hour of 6:15. I try to soften the horribleness of my daily snoozing routine, by titling my first alarm, “Jesus made this day.” I even accompany it with a remake of the hymn, “father along.”
My alarm title (though very true) has not been enough to infuse me with sufficient cheer for an entire day. And, as comforting as my morning cup of coffee is, neither is it able to meet the demands of the day. I have had many grumbling mornings as I get up, get dressed and get to work.
“Just hold on,” I tell myself. “Just hold on until your day off, or until you have a free moment to think and pray. Or, maybe over Thanksgiving Break, I can REALLY spend some quality time with God where we can sort out my life calling. And, well, if there is not adequate time over Thanksgiving Break (it is quite fast) I KNOW I will be able to really set aside time for some inductive Bible study during my Christmas Break.”
Any of this sound familiar?
Maybe you are also saying, “When I hear from God, I know I will be able to stop losing my temper with my boss. I will be able to resist lust. I will finally be able to let go of anxiety.”
Our lives our full of seasons. You will not always be a student. You do not have an exam every day. Most of you will not always be single. There are many moments in our lives where we need to have grace, the Lord’s grace, for our season of business. But, as Jesus modeled for us, no matter how busy life might become, don’t stop stealing away to be with God.
What I am about to speak to, I say as much to myself as to anyone. The quick fix Christian diet: if you read this book, if you go to this Bible study, if you memorize this scripture, if you pray this prayer… your life will be better. This dangerous line of thinking is a direct product of our quick fix frenzied culture. We are bombarded by these catchy and tempting promises – “Lose 10 1bs in 7 days! Build an 8 pack while you sleep!”
The problem with these quick fix diets is that they are not lasting. For a short time, we are inspired and work hard at being healthy, but once we stop the ‘quick fix,’ we slide back into our old routine. In the same way, for Christians, there is no ‘quick fix’ to give us a long and healthy Christian life.
When the Israelites were wandering around in the desert, God provided manna (it was a lot like bread). The only day God did not provide manna was on the Sabbath. He gave an extra amount the previous day so that the people of God would be provided rest on the Sabbath day. When some of the people tried to gather extra manna, scripture tells us that it went bad. The Lord was showing His people an incredible picture of how He desired for them to receive sustaining food daily from Him. (Exodus 16)
Jesus told the disciples, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven… Give us this day our daily bread..” (Matthew 6:9-13) We know we should eat healthy for the sake of our body. But, how much attention do we pay to the health of our soul?
The really good news is that the Christian diet of daily bread is NOT a boring and dry diet. The psalmist says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8) And also, “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips…” (Psalm 63:5)
God desires for us to daily receive from Him. And what He has for us, is both life-giving and delicious! What if you completely fail the diet and eat ten donuts? Like, many of us, it is so easy to think, “well, I ate so many donuts yesterday, I might as well eat chunks of butter for the rest of the week.” NO! Scripture tells us that God’s mercies are new EVERYDAY!
Yes, I fight to remember that God is daily laying out manna for me to receive. But what a good fight this is! Any disciplined athlete would tell you that their success is found in thousands of daily small choices. In the darkness of my cold autumn morning, as my first alarm sounds, I have a choice. I can choose to start my day with grumbling or I can choose to start my day with thanksgiving. It does not have to be a giant spiritual overhaul. I am talking about the basics. Eat your breakfast. Read one Psalm to start your day. Read one verse. Talk to God while you brush your teeth. Cast your worry, your anger, and your anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares so very much for you.