Scenario 1: You hear the alarm go off, roll out of bed, and start to get ready, already anxious about the day ahead. During a hurried breakfast, you catch up on news, texts, and email. Eventually you set off, preoccupied with your to-do list.
Scenario 2: You hear the alarm go off and begin your day by saying, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” You get up and spend time to talk with the Lord in prayer and to read His Word. Refreshed and nourished by His Word, you feel strengthened and supplied for the day’s challenges. You eat breakfast and head out.
We’d probably all prefer the second scenario. Our spiritual life would benefit greatly and perhaps change dramatically if we made a habit of starting our day with the Lord. But building up any habit takes more than fleeting inspiration; it helps if we see the reasons why it’s worthwhile. Let’s look at three.
1. Our spiritual health depends on it
We can only expect to be physically healthy if we eat enough food every day. Sure, we can get some calories from a quick donut, but it’s better for our health if we take time to eat a nourishing meal. Similarly, we can only expect to be spiritually healthy if we take time daily to feed on God’s Word in prayer and to fellowship with the Lord.
2. Our spiritual growth depends on it
First Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow.” Just as babies need to eat food daily to grow physically, we need to eat spiritual food daily to grow in the Lord. By spending time with Jesus to feed on His Word each day, we’re supplied to live our Christian life and grow in His divine life.
3. Our relationship with Christ depends on it
To have a meaningful relationship with someone requires spending quality time with that person. Email and texting are good ways to stay in touch, but they’re not the same as speaking directly with someone. By spending face to face time with others, we get to know them on a deeper level. Sometimes we have to rearrange our schedules or forego doing other things to get this quality time. But it’s worth it because we’re getting to know each other, speaking what’s on our hearts to one another.
In our relationship with the Lord Jesus, this kind of face to face time is even more critical. Jesus Christ is a wonderful person who lives in us, and who wants us to know Him. If we want to know Him beyond an objective or superficial level, we have to sacrifice time we might spend on other things to be with Him. Focusing on Him, we can open our hearts to Him, speak to Him in prayer, and let Him speak to us in His Word. This is how we get to know Him personally and deeply.
The best time of the day to spend with Jesus
The Lord Jesus wants a living and personal relationship with us, not a formal or formulaic one. We can, and should, contact Him anytime, anywhere. He’s so accessible and near to us in our spirit, and we can call upon Him all throughout the day or night.
The best time, though, for us to have a little longer personal time with the Lord Jesus is in the morning. This has been borne out by the experience of believers throughout history and testified by God’s people in the Bible.
A picture in the Old Testament
Exodus 16 tells how God fed His people as they journeyed in the wilderness, sending manna to them fresh every morning with the dew. If the children of Israel didn’t get up early enough, they would miss it, because as the sun became hot, the manna melted.
This account is a good picture for us. Today, God wants to nourish us with spiritual “manna” in His Word every morning. This way, before the “heat” and trials of the day begin, we’re refreshed and equipped with Christ to face the situations that come our way.
When we don’t have a time with the Lord in the morning, we’re easily swept up in all kinds of things once the day gets going. We simply run out of time to be alone with Him. Before we know it the day’s over, and we’re so tired. We may pray a little as we’re falling asleep, but we missed the special supply of Christ for the day available to us in the freshness of the morning.
It’s better to start our day off with the Lord, before so many things—plans, worries, situations—invade to rob us of our time altogether. Devoting time in the morning to be with our Lord Jesus ensures our having a substantial interaction with Him that day.
Those first minutes of the day we spend being alone with our loving Lord are particularly sweet. While things are quiet, we can easily open our hearts and our spirits to the Lord to be filled with Him through prayer and enlivened by reading His Word. His Word will become the gladness and joy of our hearts as we spend time in His presence.
This post is based on Chapter 1 of Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 2. Bibles for America gives this book away for free; order your free copy on our order page. You can also download a PDF version here. All verse references and quoted footnotes are from the Holy Bible Recovery Version. You can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version on our order page.