Part 1 looked at how God provides for and leads Christians. Part 2 looks at the believer’s response to God’s faithful provision and guidance.
Rejoice In the Lord Daily
This is perhaps the one daily habit I need to develop most. There have been seasons when I have rejoiced in God’s presence and leading, but God wants every Christian to continually rejoice in him. Each day is a gift from God in which we have the privilege to enjoy, serve and worship him. If I wake up each day thankful and mindful that God has something for me to do, I will be better able to rejoice and be glad throughout the day.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. —Psalm 118:24 (ESV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
I find Paul’s exhortation in Philippians harder to obey when things don’t go as I would like. Those suffering during this pandemic might reasonably ask what they have to rejoice about. But Paul wasn’t exactly relaxing in a comfortable home when he spoke these words. From prison, unsure of his future, unsure whether he would live or die, he instructed the Philippians to turn away from anxiety and turn, in thanksgiving, toward God:
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.—Philippians 4:5-8
One thing I know with certainty. Being close to God replaces anxiety with an unexplainable peace. To find this joy and peace during good times prepares me to find it when trials come.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.—Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Seek the Lord Daily
For me, a watershed moment, or, more accurately a watershed year was 2013. In January, my mother died. In April, my father died. In the middle of my grief, I found out we had to find a new place to live because the landlord of the house we were renting wanted to sell it in August. God was turning my world upside down. My wife and I set out to diligently seek God’s will. Our Bible study and prayer became more frequent and more focused. We journaled daily to record how God was answering prayer. Early on in this journey it became clear that God wanted me to take a major risk. We were amazed by the number of people God used to point me to the same conclusion: I trusted too much in my job for security. God wanted me to quit my job and write my book. It seemed nearly every sermon we heard (in church or on the radio), every devotional we read, and every quiet time we had proclaimed the same truths from the Bible.
Even with this flood of instruction, I managed over the summer to concoct two plans that would allow me to keep my job and try to write my book. But God would not budge. He wanted to break my trust in worldly security. His loving persistence won out. In September, I quit my job. We left Denver and moved to Texas where I started writing my book.
If I had not sought out God’s leading daily, I would have continued to look for my security in my job.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.—Psalm 63:1
When we are in the desert, we seek water daily in order to live. David thirsts for God with his whole being. To him, God’s love is better than life itself.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.—Psalm 63:2-3
I wish I could say that I continually sought God’s leading daily from 2013 until now. I haven’t. That’s why this pandemic has been a wake-up call. It has rejuvenated my desire to commune with God daily, to dwell in the shelter of the Almighty.
Seek God’s Wisdom Daily
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”—Proverbs 8:34-36
God’s wisdom is available in the Bible for our daily intake. Wisdom so gained brings blessing, favor and life from the Lord.
Surrender to God Daily
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.—Luke 9:23
This command deals a deathblow to any priorities that distance us from God. It should kill our procrastination and rationalization. It is a sobering reminder of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Taking up our cross daily only seems onerous when we value this life more than the next. It doesn’t preclude rejoicing in the Lord’s presence each day. It doesn’t preclude enjoying his many good gifts. But it does prioritize our desire.
What has God placed on your heart today? What has God done in your past to demonstrate his faithfulness? Think on these things. I pray we all find contentment in our circumstances and trust God to supply all of our needs as he leads us each day.