Most of us have a routine that we follow everyday. Few have the luxury of being independently wealthy. Fathers go to work everyday. Mothers get up, fix meals, do dishes, clean things, and play with children. Working mothers get up, get ready for work, pack the diaper bag, dress their children and travel to the caretaker before driving to work. My routine includes packing my lunch, fixing breakfast, reading my Bible and driving to work. I do this every morning, five days a week.
The route I travel to work is also the route I travel to church, except that church is one minute further down the road. When I first started working, I was constantly driving past the street to my work because I was so used to traveling that way to church. After working for awhile, I found myself turning into work when I was on my way to church. You see, driving to work is my daily routine.
When we do dishes day after day, or pack lunches morning after morning, it quickly gets to the place where it becomes mindless activity, lacking any interest or excitement. If you find doing dishes morning after morning exhilarating, I would recommend seeing a therapist, or better yet, write a book telling everyone else your secret. It would be a best seller in the at-home Mom market.
Daily rituals become so routine that we do them without even thinking. From a spiritual standpoint, that is very good, but it can also be detrimental.
As Christians, we should have a daily routine of Bible reading and prayer. It should be as much a part of our day as getting out of bed and brushing our teeth. It is essential to our spiritual health. A problem can arise though when we begin to see that time with God as mundane. When daily time with God becomes more of an earthly activity than a spiritual one, we are in trouble. And don't fool yourself. It can happen without you noticing. When you find yourself feeding yourself everyday off the 5-minute devotional or one chapter of Psalms, you may be in spiritual trouble. When your prayer time occurs behind the wheel of a car or while scrubbing the bathroom floor, it's time for a checkup. I'm not saying you can't pray while you do those things. I always do, but it should not be considered your time with God for the day. If your prayers sound the same everyday and you can't remember what you read in the Word yesterday, it's reason for concern.
I heard testimony in church something to the effect that by the time we were eating lunch, no one would remember what was said in church that morning. I sort of wondered at that point why the person bothered to stand up and waste the breath, but I understood the point. I pray that never comes to be an accurate description of our church. As I thought about that troubling statement, I realized that it all depends on what kind of mindset I come to church with. Am I ready to hear when I come to church? Am I desirous to know what God has been doing and speaking in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I willing to learn from them as much as from my own personal time or from the sermon? Am I ready to receive the message that the Pastor has prepared, with the help of the Holy Spirit, for my spiritual consumption? Am I prepared to make sure that I remember what was said so that I can meditate on it through the week?
We could ask ourselves these same questions on a personal level. When I open my bible as part of my routine, am I hungry or am I just fulfilling one of the obligations of my day? Do I remember what He said to me yesterday? Is the reading of the Bible more of an earthly activity so that I can say I'm a good Christian, or am I really expecting God to speak to me in a life changing way when I read and pray? Do I view my time with God as the top priority of my day, as a supernatural experience, and as necessary for my survival? Am I coming hungry and thirsty to the living word of God?
Truly, daily time with God is very simply knowing that you have been with God and that He has been with you. It's knowing that He heard what you said and you heard what He said. It should always be routine, but it should never be mundane. If it is, something in your thinking need adjusting.
Here are some ways to keep our time with God exciting and life-giving.
1. Consciously think about why you are spending time with God each day before you even open your Bible. Consider that you are entering into a supernatural experience with the Creator of the Universe and that He is going to speak directly to you.
2. Have a pen and paper handy. God is more apt to speak if He sees that you are serious about hearing and remembering what He has to say.
3. Pray before you read. Acknowledge the living Word of God and its power to change, nourish and heal you.
4. Put on your listening ears. Decide that you are going to listen for the voice of Holy Spirit as you read and pray, which may mean that you actually shut up for awhile and discipline yourself in the art of spiritual silence.
God has prepared such a blessed path for us to walk each day, but we cannot receive that blessing if we walk through each day mindlessly. Our life with God must be purposeful on our part, showing determination and resolve.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.