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Daily Habits for the Christian Life

At this moment, I sit in the living room alone and speak out loud as I type out words on my laptop, and I feel a deep sense of God’s nearness. My husband is away and I don’t quite know what to do with myself, so I write. As I move my fingers along the keyboard I know that God is aware of every click of a key and every breath that fills my lungs. I wish I was always this aware of His presence, for if I was, my prayers would be much more hopeful and my mind much less consumed with sinful thoughts. This moment is joyful and full of delight in God and I don’t want it to end. While I’m glad to be in this moment, a part of me is fearful that tomorrow I will feel completely different and be concerned about other things. I fear that after I’ve done my Scripture reading and prayers, I will forget all that I’ve learned and begin to fix my eyes on vain cares.

This awareness of God that I speak of requires more than daily Bible reading and morning prayer, but certainly not less than that. Am I implying that Scripture isn’t sufficient? By no means! I’m implying that Scripture is wholly sufficient, but my heart is not so it is prone to forget the God of the Scripture unless it makes a habit of delighting in God throughout the day. Of course, regardless of how I feel tomorrow, I know that God will still be just as near to me, but I want to feel it and glory in it.

Perhaps, you, reader, have felt similarly. You’ve had precious moments with God but many days you go about your daily routine, which still includes Scripture reading and prayer, and you feel as if you lack the closeness to God that you’ve had before. This is the human condition and it’s a sad one that shouldn’t be embraced, because it’s part of life, but should be fought.

So that is my goal and I hope it is yours as well. I aim to feel a deep awareness of God’s presence each day. I desire more than a theological understanding of His nearness–I want to feel it so I may delight in Him. And I know this is something I will have to strive for.

So as I strive to feel the theology I know I will practice some habits that will motivate my heart to find and feel the glory of God each day. I pray you, reader, join me in this journey and also implement these habits into your daily routine.

1.) I Will Pray With Thankfulness First Thing in the Morning

While morning Bible reading and prayer are essential for the Christain life I find it crucial that we don’t overlook the necessity of heartfelt delight in God the second that we wake. Our minds should be filled with expressions of praise and thankfulness to our Lord when we meet a new day. His mercies are new every morning–even the mornings in which we spill our coffee, run out the door late and are upset with our spouse. The mercy that met us at the cross sustains us each day and that is a reason for endless rejoicing (Lam. 3:23). So then when we wake let us say with the Psalmist, “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Ps. 59:16).

2.) I Will Take Joy in the Theology I Know

I can know theological truths but if I have no joy in them they are as nothing for the nourishment of my soul. It’s not enough to merely accept that we fail to take joy in God as we should; instead, we should strive after this joy. We should refuse to repeat vain and repetitive prayers and clichés to get through the day. Sure, I can tell myself, "be glad, you are justified by faith", but that does little for me unless I make it my aim to rejoice in the blessings I have because of my justification. We should earnestly pray to be happy in the praises we say to our Savior and the truths we glean from Scripture.

3.) I Will Exposit the Scripture to Myself

As I’ve grown in Scripture memorization I’ve found it to be a wonderful sword against temptation. Yet, many times I mindlessly repeat a verse to myself and while I’m pleased by it my heart still lacks delight. However, I’ve found that meditating on a verse by acting as if I’m preaching to another person does wonders for my soul. I’ll take a verse like John 3:16 and ask myself questions like: Why does the verse begin with “for”? Why does God love? How does He love? Who does He love? Does this imply that His love is earned or graciously given? How does this verse apply to me? Considering Scripture deeply not only reminds me of the presence of God; it makes me recall the character of the God who is present with me. It would bless us to treat scriptures we know so well as if they’re new and we’re just exploring the wonders of the Christian faith.

4.) I Will Praise God in My Ordinary Activities

I‘ve found this to be one of the most helpful methods to keep my mind focused on God throughout the day. This looks like saying specific praises and prayers to God that relate to the small activities I’m doing. If I’m making the bed then it's thanking God for the rest He gives me or if I’m removing my hair from the shower wall (gross, I know) then it’s praising God for being the one who knows all the hairs on my head. If we practice this we will never run out of praises to God.

5.) I Will Sing Songs of Praise to the Lord Each Day

This is one of my favorites as I enjoy singing, but even if our vocals are poor this is the duty of every believer. We are instructed to sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs not just to God, but also to one another (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). This communicates to me the necessity of continual praise in the Christian life as we’re not only to pray with thanksgiving but also to sing songs with thanksgiving. Just as prayer and Scripture reading, singing to God is an inspired means of sanctification.

6.) I Will Take Every Opportunity to Encourage and Serve Others

This is a fulfillment of the second commandment (to love my neighbor as myself), but without obeying the first commandment, (to love the Lord my God) I will fail at this. If we fail to make continual efforts to love God more each day then we will care little to serve others. We will become the bad sort of “people pleasers”; not serving out of love for God and others, but serving out of a desire to be praised and not rejected–that is serving to be served. As one who wrestles with this, I know of the temptation and burden it is, and it is this same sin that keeps us from sharing the Gospel with those around us. How much more would we share the saving work of Christ if we continually fixed our minds on Him and the needs of others? Serving others out of love does serve us as well, but not in a sinful way, as it increases our delight in God and reminds us that He serves us each day.

The goal of these daily habits is to force our minds to be God-conscious. Being aware of God’s presence is not only our joy but it’s also our comfort and peace that gets us through the day. The days where I neglect to fight for delight in God are among the worst days filled with worries, complaints, and idleness–this is no way to live the Christian life. So, reader, please join me in this journey of fighting for delight in God by constantly making yourself aware of His presence. If we Christians rightly interpret the Scriptures, awareness of God's presence will not terrify us, it will motivate us to do good works and fill us with gladness.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:1-2


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