How Are You Starting Out Your Day?
Luke 21:37 ¶ Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called.
Luke 21:38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.
This is that same week in which Jesus had made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. What did he do during the weekdays leading up to the fateful weekend of his death? He continued the self-discipline which he had always held. He never gave up preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. He would spend his days in the temple teaching. Realizing he needed rest he would leave in the evenings and head back over to the Mount of Olives -- probably going to Bethany to rest for the night and have personal time in prayer with the Father. After being refreshed himself, he would arise early and make his way back to the temple where he would begin again to teach. Those who really wanted to learn from him would also rise early and join him at the temple, eager to hear what he had to share.
Jesus' life is one filled with self-discipline! I believe he had to work at disciplining his human flesh so that he could serve his Father. This included the discipline of spending time in prayer, sleep, and his own spiritual refreshment. So here's a good point -- if Jesus needed these things -- how much more do we? Jesus started out his day being renewed by the presence of his Father and then provided the same for those who would join him for early morning teaching. Shouldn't we join in the same practices if we want to be Christlike disciples?
There have been seasons in my life where spending time with God -- especially in the morning -- has been harder than others. I like my sleep -- and actually, I need my sleep. My family will attest to the fact that I am a real grouch if I don't get enough sleep. Jesus was disciplined about getting enough rest and if he was, how much more do we? Part of spiritual discipline is getting enough rest for our bodies. I also know that when my children were smaller -- having enough "sane" moments to spend with the Lord was at times difficult. Finding moments alone was difficult -- and yet, somehow I wanted to squeeze in some time with him. I am now in another season of life where I don't have those distractions and so I must be faithful with the time God has given me.
Once we get the rest we need, we should examine how we are starting out our days. The people in Jerusalem -- those who wanted to learn from Jesus -- were willing to get up early and go to the temple just to soak in what he had to teach them. We don't have to go to Jerusalem these days. I can sit in the comfy chair in my living room drinking a piping hot cup of tea and read God's word without ever leaving the warmth of my home while soaking up what the Lord wants to teach me. That's the blessing into which I can live these days. I want Jesus to be the first thing and the last thing in my day. I want him to be always before me and defining how I will live my life this day. I want to constantly be learning from him and being transformed by him.
If you are struggling with Jesus being first -- and the first thing in your day -- pray and then put some disciplines into practice that will help you seek him in the morning. It may transform your whole day -- and your life!
Lord, may I see your face today and always. Amen.