Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to Spend a Day with God

In our staff meetings, we customarily read some brief materials as a time of reflection and discussion. Yesterday, we had the privilege of reading a short article by Richard Baxter, reprinted in the publication Heartcry! A Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening.
There were such good, brief counsel and reminders in the article, I thought I'd post it here and refer to Baxter's Spiritual Directory.

How to Spend a Day with God

A holy life is inclined to be made easier when we know the usual sequence and method of our duties--with everything falling into its proper place. Therefore, I shall give some brief directions for spending the day in a holy manner:

1. Sleep. Measure the time of your sleep appropriately so that you do not waste your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be matched to your health and labor, and not to slothful posture.

2. First Thoughts. Let God have your first awaking thoughts. Lift up your heart to Him reverently and thankfully for the rest enjoyed the night before, and cast yourself on Him for the day which follows. Think of the mercy of a night's rest and of how many have spent that night in hell; how many in prison; how many in cold, hard lodgings; how many suffering from agonizing pains and sickness, weary of their beds and of their lives. Think of how quickly days and nights are rolling on--how speedily your last night and day will come! Observe that which is lacking in the preparedness of your soul for such a time, and seek it without delay.

3. Prayer. Let prayer by yourself alone (or with your partner) take place before the collective prayer of the family. If possible, let it be first, before any work of the day.

4. Family Worship. Let family worship be performed consistently and at a time when it is most likely for the family to be free of interruptions.

5. Purpose. Remember your ultimate purpose, and when you set yourself to your day's work or approach any activity in the world, let holiness to the Lord be written on your heart in all that you do. Do nothing in the world for any other ultimate purpose than to please, glorify, and enjoy Him. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
6. Diligence. Show that you are not sluggish and servant to ease. Keep out idle thoughts from your mind. Do not waste precious time. Diligently carry out occupation.

7. Temptation. Be thoroughly acquainted with your temptations and the things that may corrupt you. Watch against the master sins of unbelief: hypocrisy, selfishness, pride, flesh-pleasing, and the excessive love of earthly things. Take care against being drawn into earthly mindedness, excessive cares, or covetous designs for rising in the world. Maintain that modesty and cleanness of speech that the laws of purity require. Strengthen yourself against impatient, revengeful pride.

8. Meditation. When alone in your occupations, improve the time in practical and beneficial meditations. Meditate on the infinite goodness and perfections of God; Christ and redemption; heaven and how you deserve eternal misery in hell.

9. Time. Place a high value on your time; guard it more zealously than you guard your money. Do not let worthless recreations, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep rob you of your precious time. Make sure that you are not merely never idle, but rather that you are using your time in the most profitable way.

10. Eating and Drinking. Eat and drink with moderation and thankfulness for health. Never please your appetite in food or drink when it is prone to be detrimental to your health. The Apostle Paul wept when he mentioned those who "are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their minds on earthly things" (Phil. 3:18-19).

11. Sin. If any temptation prevails against you and you fall into any sins, repent quickly, whatever the cost. It will certainly cost you more if you continue in sin and remain unrepentant. Do not make light of your habitual failures, but confess them and daily strive against them.

12. Relationships. Remember every day the special duties of various relationships: whether as spouse, child, employer, employee, pastor, leader, follower.

13. Bedtime. Before returning to sleep, it is wise to review the actions and mercies of the day past, so that you may be thankful for all the special mercies and humbled for all your sins. This is necessary in order that you might renew your repentance as well as your resolve for obedience, and in order that you may examine yourself to see whether your soul grew better or worse, and whether you are better prepared for suffering, death, and eternity.

May these directions be engraved on your mind and be made the daily practice of your life. If sincerely adhered to, these will be conducive to the holiness, fruitfulness, and quietness of your life, and add to you a comfortable and peaceful death.


reformedlawless said...


This was written just for me. Thanks for the post.


Lionel Woods said...

This is much more difficult than it seems.

FellowElder said...

Indeed it is. The flesh and the Spirit war against one another, don't they? That's why "discipline" in "spiritual disciplines" always seemed an appropriate word or phrase to me. Living like this calls us to discipline of the best sort.

Merry Christmas,