It's Monday. I'll be out early, pounding the pavement to get my morning walk. Well, normally I would, but maybe not this morning unless I find a big umbrella. There is much rain in our South Florida forecast.
Many days my stroll takes me past Spanish River Church, where I will offer up my usual prayer, "Lord, fill up this place with people who are 'living it out' and let it begin with me." Continuing on, I will listen to a book (today it is The Soul Of America by Jon Meacham), take notes, and think. I'll do a few push-ups along the way. When I get home I’ll read the Word, and then Shannan and I will head out for an early breakfast.
It is all a part of my Monday morning routine.
I like routines. I guess that is why I resonate with Charles C. Noble who wrote,
If Noble is my habits champion, David Hansen is my habits theologian. Hansen helps me make a connection between physical routines and the routine of the Spirit. Hansen writes:
The morning routine of body care sets my body on course for a day of work. The morning routine of spirit care sets my spirit on course for a day of work. Without my shower, cereal and coffee, I stink, I'm weak, and I'm unalert. Without morning prayer my spirit stinks, my spirit is weak, and my spirit is unalert.
Hansen knows that God's power and joy will flow to me when I walk by the Spirit so he is urging me to keep pace. It's no wonder he says this. Opening my Bible I begin to understand the power of the Spirit in my life:
He helps me to do what Jesus tells me to do. John 16:8-11
He helps me understand and live in the Truth. John 16:13
He provides the example and the power to glorify Jesus (to make Jesus famous). John 16:14-15
He helps me by praying for me. Romans 8:26-27
He leads me in the way I should go. Galatians 5:16-18
He brings the fruit of love, joy, peace … Galatians 5:22-24
He is my guarantee that I belong to God. 2 Corinthians 1:22
He is my comforter. John 14:25-26
James Kennedy likened the work of the Spirit to the fresh air that an AC unit brings to a house. Having grown up in South Florida without air conditioning I appreciated his picture. If the AC unit was installed in the house, it would be silly to start closing doors to its refreshing breeze. Kennedy wrote:
It is not that we need more of the Spirit; it is that the Holy Spirit wants more of us. It is that we have confined Him to one small room of our lives and there are parts of our lives we are withholding from him. We need to throw open the doors and let the Holy Spirit take over our minds, our habits, our hearts, our affections, our will, our speech, our feet, our hands, and all else that we are – and then let the Holy Spirit have control of all of our lives. This is what we need if we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and have every part of our being know the power and joy of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks to Hansen and Kennedy I have a new routine to add to my daily habits. It is pausing in prayer -- for five minutes -- to throw open every door in the house that is my life: family, hopes, goals, projects, worries past and future, temptations, dreams and aspirations . . . . You get the picture.
Knowing that God's Spirit wants more of me, and knowing what happens inside of me when I open every door, how can I shut off myself from Him? That would be foolishness. So today I'm unlocking every door and inviting the Holy Spirit to bring His fresh power to bear on my life.
The refreshing breeze of the Spirit is blowing, why not throw open every door today?
- "The morning routine ... " comes from David J. Hansen, The Art Of Pastoring: Ministry Without All The Answers. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2012. Page 53.
- "It is not that we need more of the Spirit ..." from D. James Kennedy, Back To Basics: The Apostles' Creed And What It Means To You. USA: Coral Ridge Ministries. 2001. Page 149, 150.