Sabbath Ramblings: Woke.

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absolute surrender
Articles, Sabbath Ramblings

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…

hard.

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.

He says…

...”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.)

21 thoughts on “Sabbath Ramblings: Woke.

  1. Dan Dowling says:

    Great post, Ben. It makes me think of a child coming into his parents’ room early in the morning just to be with them. How much dearer to the parent is he? How much more tender the embrace? Gotta be the same way for God!

    I don’t even feel human without praying first thing in the morning. Lately, I’ve found that reading the Word *before* praying gives my prayer a strong sense of purpose and power that it had been lacking.

  2. Michael says:

    Mornings have always been a challenge for me as I am not the wide eyed morning person. But, I have been changing my habits and it has been changing me. And part of that is to pray in the mornings and in the evenings. I am still not quite there, but I never am. But, I am always moving in that direction. Thank you Ben for letting us know your struggles as well. Keep up the good work and may God bless you.

  3. Juan Reyna says:

    Thanks. 🙌🙏

  4. Scott Fox says:

    Thank you, Ben. Taking the steps to connect with The Devine has not been part of my daily activity. I have been meditating daily and focusing on the earthly activities that help us be healthy and productive. I’m going to start to talk with God today and each day this week. Taking steps back to communing. As I write this, I feel a welling up of safety and gratitude. Thanks, Ben. Peace.

  5. Mirriam says:

    Thank you for sharing this Ben. Not a lot of writers/influencers share this bit of their lives often. To identify our weakness is a big step in improving ourselves. You are not alone in feeling the same burden of wanting to get up each morning for his word. Hoping for more of this content so I can share this to my network too. Have a blessed week

  6. Gayle Odell says:

    Each morning when I wake up I repeat Psalm 90:14 changing the pronouns to make it personal
    “ Sustain me with your unfailing love so I will be filled with joy and glad all my days”. I use it as my prayer for the day. Then I write 3 things I am thankful for and thank God for them. Then I can’t wait to read my Bible. Thanks for sharing Ben. It helps so many.

  7. Cheryl says:

    I remember getting out of bed and racing to get everything done in the mornings to catch my train and commute to work. Because I know how important time spent with God is, I would try to do it on the train, but would be so tired most mornings that I would fall asleep. But I remember telling God that I long for the day when I can spend unlimited time with him. Lo and behold, he caused me to relocate to another state and put me in a situation where I was no longer racing around like a crazy person. I now wake up and get out of bed before the sun rises, to go to my special area in my home where I am able to spend anywhere from 1-2 hours with him. He really does act on those good desires of the heart. This is certainly not to brag, but just to say that my time spent with him is so sweet, I cannot imagine not doing so. It’s like nutrients to my spiritual body. We are living in a time where it is imperative that we cultivate that relationship with him because that is the only solid rock we have to stand on. It’s going to get rough from here on out. WE NEED HIM.

    Much love to you and your family.

    Cheryl

    1. Scott says:

      Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Bill Montgomery says:

    Every morning for the last four years I have read the Bible. Over the last six months, I have added “The Pause” APP by John Eldridge for mornings and then in the afternoons, after work, I use the Youverse Bible App and watch the little video. Then I do my journaling.

    Then during the day, I turn my thoughts to the Lord tryong to remember to thank Him for everything or ust talk to Him.

    1. Yes, John is coming on the podcast soon to talk about that!

  9. Melissa Horn says:

    Thank you for sharing this, and for all the work you do.

    We are all only human, doing the best that we can do, but often I think you are doing God’s work, and I can hear and feel him through you.

    For me, I am a buffalo facing the storm of a major health crisis, and some days taking the time to greet God is the only thing that gets me through. Your perspective changes when you are sick, but the big lesson it teaches us is just how vital it is to connect with Him, and be a vessel for Him to shine his LIGHT through. I will never stop meeting Him in the mornings now, and all the days through.

    God bless and thank you.

    1. J9 says:

      Dear Lord, please give supernatural wisdom to Melissa’s medical team and help them to come up with a protocol to help heal Melissa. Please heal Melissa from her health crisis. May Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, envelop Melissa. We ask of you and praise you, in Jesus’ name, Amen!

      1. Melissa Horn says:

        Wow. Thank you so much for that. Today has been a challenging one, so reading your post and prayer meant alot to me.

  10. Luis S. says:

    Thanks, Ben. I really appreciate your Sabbath insights.for several years, I use my Bible app to tee up my daily Book of Common Reading plan which takes me through the whole Bible over 2 years. It tees up Psalms, an OT reading and Epistle and a Gospel reading. I can also shift translations as I repeat the plan. I love this and is an essential part of my morning routine. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Kim says:

    A favorite book is My Utmost For His Highest.
    It helps me realize it is not all about me.

  12. Den says:

    Thanks for this Ben. I’m a work in progress and this is a great reminder

  13. Fr. Martin Vu says:

    Good morning Ben,

    Every day I pray what’s called the Liturgy of the Hours. It’s a series of prayer books that includes daily Scripture readings and Psalms for the whole year, repeating when one year ends and a new year begins.

    Alongside some of the readings are commentaries on the Scriptures including from some of the earliest Christians who lived after the time of Jesus and the Apostles.

    Another great thing about the Liturgy of the Hours is that it’s meant to be used multiple times during the day. There are different Scriptures and prayers everyday for the morning, for midday, for the evening and for nighttime.

    It’s a really organized and systematic way to help me consecrate my whole day to God and remain rooted in His word.

    1. Ben Greenfield says:

      I’ll need to check this out!

  14. Joshua Wang says:

    This is something I struggle with. When I wake up, if I don’t get out of bed, I’ll likely fall back to sleep. Even when I wake up earlier, I find I tend to want to be “productive”. I need to put God first and surrender my priorities. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been blessed by your Sabbath Ramblings.

  15. Matt Mondorff says:

    Great stuff Ben! Along these same lines, I recommend you check out Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre De Caussade and Into Your Hands by Wilfred Stinnison.

    1. Jerry Matt says:

      Love the integrative holistic approach! Excellent !
      J. Matt, MA, BMT

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