Your routine matters. When life uproots your routine, seek ways to continue it. Christian, it can even be a very subtle change that can draw you away from communion with the Lord.
We do not vacation from communion with God.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, ESV)
Our whole day is accomplishable and attainable, with strengthening by the Lord. But, this is not some crazy license. What we do also matters. Yet, that’s what makes one day, or even a season of time, different from the rest. Keep up with me…
Our regular life consists of waking up, spending time in the Word and prayer. Then we go about our day, in continued prayer with the Lord, worshipping Him throughout. But what do you do when you go on a business trip? How about during a week’s vacation? What about those 5 days you took off to care for your mom when she was in the hospital? What if it was you, in the hospital?
Do you continue getting up and starting the day with the Lord? What about those Friday morning bible study times? Do you continue that?
This isn’t a recipe. I’m assuming that you have a routine that facilitates your communion with God. Interpret my example routine for yourself.
Our chief aim is to glorify God, by being most satisfied in Him. So should we be overwhelmed by all the possibilities of the day, and how we can or cannot glorify the Lord? Should we stress over this? No.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.” (Haggai 1:7-8, ESV)
Consider what you do regularly, those are your ways. After you consider your routine, you must find additional ways to allow God to take pleasure in your worship, so that He may be glorified. In the midst of our regularity, we continue to glorify God. Yet, when we take a detour, we are meant to continue to glorify God.
Last night I was tempted to sin. As you may know, I’m working through treatment for leukemia. And for the next week and a half I’m neutropenic, and simply waiting it out at UCLA Santa Monica. Even that part of my routine is changed. I’ve been getting treatment and care at UCLA Westwood, up until now. But, for this 2 week period, they didn’t have room for me at Westwood, so I’m here.
Our kids’ routine had become so out of sorts that we decided to have Deanna stay with them at home this time, and come visit me a few times. So, even having Deanna with me 24 hours a day, is changed.
I believe that the Lord protected me, because I was really tired. Just as I was tempted, my eyelids became heavier than my desire to sin. But I woke this morning, with a heavy heart. I quickly decided that I wanted to watch a video sermon, so I pulled up one of my favorite preachers, on my Macbook.
As I worshipped through being taught, I started thinking about how this came to be. I was faced with admitting, if not confessing, that I had allowed my regular routine of communion with the Lord to slip. My reading of the Word had shifted to only hearing about it when I happened to read a “Christian” book, or the occasional dabbling with my Bible by my bedside. (I read a lot, but not always Christian teachings; sometimes regular old fiction as well.) I really can’t sing in my hospital room, so my time of singing to the Lord, which is quite valuable in helping me to orient my heart towards God, has all but disappeared.
OK, now what do I do? Well, when you realize that you’re in a similar place, the most important first steps are…Confession, confession, confession! I confessed this temptation to Deanna, and then sought out a few others to make aware. I know these men will not only pray for me, but they’ll check in as well. Keeping your struggles a secret is like adding fertilizer to a growing plant. You’re not removing the sin, or temptation. You’re feeding it. Trust me. Tell others.
Then, go back to the basics! If you’ve found that you’re not attending your local church for worship services, get back to it! If you were a part of a smaller missional community, but have been less available, clear your schedule! And get back into the Word! Open your Bible right away, and start reading. If you want direction, get a daily reading plan and jump right in. Bookmark this plan, called Every Day In The Word.
And how about if you can’t do some of these things, like me, here in the hospital alone? Well, I’m back in the Word. That’s how I came upon those verses to share with you above. It’s also how the Lord flushed out this whole blog post idea.
Then, I’m using the same technology that was used to tempt me. I’m using it to participate as much as I can in corporate worship. I watched that sermon this morning, and I’m planning on watching a sermon every morning with my breakfast.
I’m not sure how I’ll fix the singing issue. You don’t need to sing, to worship. And worship is not necessarily singing. But, for many, and for me, singing helps orient my heart into a place of worship. And I need that. Today I think I’ll try putting on some worshipful music and singing along, quietly. :-) And I’ll go from there.