Every day is a uniquely personal combination of ordinary stuff, surprises, opportunities, thoughts, heartaches, delight, weariness, relationships, questions and more. Days roll by and as the writer Annie Dillard notes, “Of course, how you spend your days is how you spend your life.”
I suppose it could just as easily be said that how you apply your faith in Jesus in the moments of those days determines whether you live by faith or by your wits. And that, ultimately, will determine not only your growth like Christ, but your experience of His joy, peace, hope, mercy and more.
Now, there are a thousand different things every day that can distract us from faith in Jesus, or at least pose as substitutes for trust in Him. Disciples have for centuries adopted holy habits to lash mind and heart to the surpassing greatness of Christ. These spiritual disciplines are helpful in forming Christ in us.
But I also find it helpful to embrace some simple reminders, or soul triggers to grab my spiritual attention throughout the day. A simple black band on my wrist prompts me to pray for unreached cities across North America, like St. Louis. Hearing an ambulance is a reminder to pray for God’s mercy to the hurting and express my gratefulness for His sustaining mercies.
These soul triggers can begin first thing every morning. What if, as soon as your eyes opened and you saw the first light of day, you were reminded to turn your attention to some aspect of God’s character, His heart for you, and redeeming mission in the world?
Consider how many times the Bible uses the dawn of the day to communicate something about God.
When you wake in the morning…
+ there is a supply of new mercies available for that day:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:21-24)
+ your soul can be satisfied with His love, so you can have deep gladness
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Ps. 90:14)
+ there may be joy rising again after a season of grief
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps.30:5)
+ the ears of your heart may be quietly sensitive to the Lord’s truth.
“ Morning by morning he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught… to listen as a disciple” (Is.50:4)
+ it’s a reminder of Jesus’ Resurrection Day and the power that is also ours.
“On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus….that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Lk 24:1-2, Phil. 3:10)
+ all creation and all peoples are already praising the Lord.
“The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting… From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!….For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations” (Ps.50:1, 113:3, Mal.1:11)
+ the Lord reigns as sovereign authority over all
“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Is.45:5-7)
Choose one of these truths, and for the next week, let the first light of day be a soul trigger to meditate and soak your heart in it. It could set the tone for all the moments of your day, to live each day and eventually your entire life, by ruthless trust in the goodness of Jesus.