(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
Every morning when we wake up, we have a choice of how we begin our day. Let’s look at two possibilities:
Scenario 1: The alarm goes off. You roll out of bed and start to get ready, already anxious about the day ahead. During a hurried breakfast, you catch up on the news, texts, and emails. Eventually, you rush out the door, preoccupied with your to-do list for the day.
Scenario 2: You hear the alarm go off and immediately say, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” You get out of bed and spend time talking with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word. Refreshed and nourished by His Word, you feel strengthened and supplied for the day’s challenges.
We’d probably all prefer the second scenario. Our spiritual life would benefit greatly, and perhaps even change dramatically, if we started every day by spending time with the Lord Jesus. But building up a habit takes more than fleeting inspiration; it helps to see why it’s worthwhile. In this post, we’ll look at three reasons why it’s critical to spend time with the Lord, and the best time of day to do it.
1. Our spiritual health depends on it
We can expect to be physically healthy only if we eat enough food every day. While we can get some calories from a quick doughnut, it’s much better for our health if we take time to eat a nourishing meal. In the same way, we can expect to be spiritually healthy only if we take time daily to feed on God’s Word in prayer and fellowship with Him.
2. Our spiritual growth depends on it
In 1 Peter 2:2, it 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
Having a meaningful relationship with someone requires spending quality time with that person. Emailing and texting are good ways to stay in touch, but they’re not the same as speaking directly with someone. By spending time face to face with others, we get to know them on a deeper level.
In our relationship with the Lord Jesus, spending time with Him in this way is even more critical. Jesus Christ is a wonderful person who lives in us and who wants us to know Him. But to go beyond an objective or superficial knowledge of Him, we have to prioritise our time with Him above other things. Then we can get to know Him in a deeper way by opening our hearts to Him, speaking to Him in prayer, and letting Him speak to us in His Word. This is how we develop a deep and personal relationship with Him.
The best time of the day to spend with Jesus
The Lord Jesus wants an intimate and personal relationship with us, not one that’s formal or formulaic. We can, and should, contact Him anytime, anywhere. He’s living in our spirit, and we can call upon Him throughout the day or night.
However, the best time for us to spend with the Lord Jesus is in the morning. This is proven by the experience of believers throughout history, and by the testimonies of God’s people in the Bible.
A picture in the Old Testament
Exodus 16 tells us how God fed His people as they journeyed in the wilderness, raining manna down from heaven every morning with the dew. If the children of Israel didn’t get up early enough to gather the manna, they would miss that day’s portion, since it would melt under the scorching sun.
This account is a good picture for us. Today, God wants to nourish us with spiritual “manna” in His Word every morning. When we spend the time to meet with Christ in His Word, we’re refreshed and equipped to face the “heat” and trials that come our way.
When we don’t have time with the Lord in the morning, we’re easily caught up in all kinds of things once the day gets going and often run out of time to be alone with Him. Before we know it, the day’s over, and we’re exhausted. We may pray a little as we’re falling asleep, but we’ve missed the special supply of Christ that was available to us in the morning.
It’s better to start our day off with the Lord, before our plans, worries, and situations rob us of our time. Spending those first minutes of the day alone with our loving Lord is particularly sweet. While things are still 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 (you can order a free New Testament study Bible here). His Word will become the gladness and joy of our hearts as we spend time in His presence.