I was recently reading Andrew Murray's provoking book Absolute Surrender. It's a good book and well worth a read.
Regarding union with God, a topic dear to my heart and something I've written about in the past here, he says:
“The keeping is to be continuous. Every morning, God will meet you as you wake. It is not a question: If I forget to wake in the morning with the thought of Him, what will come of it? If you trust your waking to God, God will meet you in the mornings as you wake with His divine sunshine and life. He will give you the consciousness that through the day you have got God to continually take charge of you with His almighty power. And God will meet you the next day and every day. Never mind if, in the practice of fellowship, failure sometimes comes. If you maintain your position—and say: “Lord, I am going to expect You to do Your utmost, and I am going to trust You day by day to keep me absolutely,” your faith will grow stronger and stronger. You will know the keeping power of God in unbrokenness.”
This statement resonated with me…
…because that daily, specifically morning, keeping of union with God is hard.
I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to wake and suppress the urge to leap from bed (especially since identifying my life's purpose)—and instead actually take the time to breathe, read my Bible, and complete my spiritual disciplines journaling.
It's even harder when I'm traveling and I went to bed later than planned due to late-night dinner obligations, or had a crappy night of sleep because I'm outside my home environment; and then I wake knowing I'm supposed to be at a conference or meeting in an hour and I have so much to do to get ready, yet I know that the very best thing I can do is greet the day by greeting God.
Heck, even if I set aside for a moment any thoughts of a 10 or 20-minute meditation later in the morning, or squeezing in an AM workout, or having a few quality moments with the family…
…the mere act of praying, cracking open the Bible, and spending time in God's Word before my feet hit the floor is just…
It takes time. Admittedly, not a ton of time—as ten to fifteen minutes usually suffices for me—but it's time nonetheless.
And it takes trust. Trust that God will provide for me even if I don't bang out those twenty e-mails that I really want to get off my chest or out of my mind before I start my “real” workday; trust that God will put food on the table even if I don't get those extra precious few minutes of work in; and trust that God will help me remember all those jumbling thoughts marching through my head that I woke up with and I want to act upon right away.
Is it the same for you?
Fortunately, Andrew presents a solution within the pages of the book, and based on the book's title, the solution comes as no surprise: absolute surrender.
...”When God has begun the work of absolute surrender in you, and when God has accepted your surrender, then God holds Himself bound to care for it and to keep it. Will you believe that?”
He then goes on to write:
“Oh, we find the Christian life so difficult because we seek for God's blessing while we live in our own will. We should be glad to live the Christian life according to our own liking. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to come in and take care that sin shall not conquer us too much, and that we shall not go too far wrong; we ask Him to come in and give us so much of His blessing. But our relationship to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal, and every day come to Him humbly and straightforwardly and say: “Lord, is there anything in me that is not according to Thy will, that has not been ordered by You, or that is not entirely given up to You?” Oh, if we would wait and wait patiently, I tell you what the result would be. There would spring up a relationship between us and Christ so close and so tender that we should afterward be amazed at how we formerly could have lived with the idea: “I am surrendered to Christ.” We should feel how far distant our intercourse with Him had previously been, and that He can, and does indeed, come and take actual possession of us, and gives unbroken fellowship all the day. The branch calls us to absolute surrender.”
So what does all this mean?
When we truly love God and have a true desire to live a Christian life, when we have truly surrendered all to God that He will care for our each and every need, when we come to God daily and pray—yes, earnestly pray—that we would have the fortitude and trust to surrender all worries, work, racing thoughts, lack of time, stress, pressure, scarcity, and doubt upon Him…
…then we will stay in bed to greet God each morning and read that Bible not because we have to…
…but because every last shred of our being wants to and loves to.
So I pray each day that as I grow in grace and grow in God that He would make every morning in bed reading the Bible something I look forward to just as much as a juicy ribeye steak, a glorious sip of a fine Bordeaux, a beautiful hike with my family, a luxurious date with my wife, or a game of tennis at the park.
But I'm not perfect yet. How about you? What have you found that enables your daily “woked-ness” to include a deep daily connection with God first thing in the day? I'd love to hear your thoughts, encouragement, comments, and questions—I read them all. (And for more, I recommend you read Andrew's book and also my article on how to read the Bible.)