Believe it or not, last Friday (the 9th of October) marked Day 200 since the announcement of official UK lockdown(!)… For some of us, that may well come as a surprise, while others of us are probably feeling like it’s seems a lot longer even than that! Either way, 200 days is a long time.
At the start of that period, as we got over the shock to the system, you may remember we seemed to keep hearing about different “lockdown projects” that people were engaging in – as people began to reimagine how to best use our time.
With a strange type of “New Years Resolution” vibe, we threw ourselves into:
- Grand DIY projects
- Learning to bake!
- Writing in diaries/journals
- Learning what zoom was
- Ordering books from amazon again
- Purchasing Home gym equipment
- A Fresh desire to learn how to pray
I wonder now, 200 days in, how much of that has had a long term impact on our lifestyles?
I remember too a friend of mine praying for me as we spoke on the phone, and part of their prayer that has stuck with me was something like:
I pray that as Jon and the family will look back on this time fondly, and discover unexpected blessings as they spend more time together and learn to appreciate each other in a new way.
I find myself wondering if I could have used those 200 days differently. Which led me to the question – what should I be doing every day? It made me wonder – what does the Bible suggest I should be doing on a daily basis?
Now, quick disclaimer here… as Christians – we’re not obviously under the law, we’re under grace – so this isn’t a list of rules and regulations (who needs more of those right now?!), but more a series of invitations, healthy habits, and regular rendezvous points in which we’re invited to meet with the God who longs to do life with us!
Here’s just five simple daily practises, straight out of God’s word, that can weave that sense of God’s presence into the fabric of our day to day lives:
1. Regularly Offloading onto God
Praise be to the LORD, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens.
I often had to learn (and relearn!) this one the hard way, but there is just no need to carry our burdens alone – He is waiting, ready, willing and able to lift our burdens.
And it is absolutely unequivocal here – daily, as in: Every. Single. Day.
He doesn’t choose to shoulder more weight for us when we’re being a “good Christian”, and leave us to our own devices on our bad days – He stays the same, we’re the ones who chose (wrongly) to try and do the heavy lifting ourselves.
I know that if I’m not doing this, I can often offload (out of desperation or exhaustion) the wrong way, at the wrong time – and crucially, to the wrong person… See, the difference is – He can take it… and daily, He is waiting.
For guidance on this check out some older posts:
2. Being open to hear His Voice
For He is our God, and we are people of His pasture, the flock under His care. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…
The Israelites would have understood this picture very clearly – even to this day, middle eastern shepherds lead their flock of sheep from the front, and call them on with their voices… the only sheep who wander off from the fold are those too stubborn to be led.
Jesus promises us that we too, will hear Him (“My sheep know my voice!”), and we face the same choice… but often hardheartedness in us isn’t unwillingness but is often simply unreadiness; all too often we miss it because we don’t listen for it. Try having a soft heart… today.
For ideas on how to do this, check out:
3. Daily Thankfulness
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
There may much to moan about, but each day itself is a gift from God – made by Him and given to us! Whatever the day brings for each of us, He remains the same, and praising Him for who He is is always an option!
Try it – ask God for fresh eyes to appreciate the wonder of the world around you today – and every time He does, choose thankfulness and give Him the gift of worship! None of us can change the world, but we can change our experience of it, if we adjust our attitude to gratitude!
For more on this, see:
4. Recommit to following Jesus
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Becoming like Jesus won’t just happen – it takes a lifetime, but it takes a lifetime of daily choices to recalibrate our focus in the right direction. The song we often sing on the day we’re baptized is one we will need to sing again and again throughout our lives: “I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back, no turning back.”
It means regularly asking: What would Jesus do? until what we would do looks increasingly and instinctively the same! If Jesus were alive today and living your life, what would His day to day look like? That is a great question to start every day!
5. Encouraging Others
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Feeling isolated, unappreciated or ignored can lead to a heart that is hard, closed and cold. The Bible’s answer – encourage one another! Specifically, encourage one another’s faith! I love this verse that comes later in Hebrews: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (10.24-25)
Don’t give up on each other! Paul says – but where some is headed towards love and good deeds – spur them on, shout encouragement, it’s like a shot of adrenaline through the veins of our faith! And all the more… he says – what if we made that our increasing practise, how many otherwise undervalued people could been cheered on and cheered up?
Of course, whatever we have or haven’t spent the last 200 days doing, we can’t alter it now – it is what it is, and lies outside of our power to change, but what is within our grasp is what we do with the next 200 days… starting today.
What about you? What the best spiritual habit you’ve ever picked up? What has really helped and blessed you daily?
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