“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
To bear the title of “Christian” is so extravagantly simple. It means coming to the understanding that you need Christ, you need a savior, and you can’t do for yourselves what only He can do. Accepting Christ bridges the gap between us and God. He then becomes the leader of our lives. This is how our walk with Christ begins. It is the journey of being a follower of Christ that takes an investment of time, talent, energy and heart. We have to align ourselves with Christ throughout our day. Any relationship of value has to do with interaction and proximity. Christianity isn’t an “information dump” where we just load our brains with principles and precepts. This is only part of it. The other part is growing ever closer to Christ. In this series, we have been looking at how to use each day to glorify His kingdom. Jesus told us to live one day at a time; don’t be to far in the future, and don’t lag behind in the past. We need to take advantage of each portion of the day.
To review, in the morning hour we have a time of preparation. In the physical world, this is the time that we take a shower and get dressed. In the spiritual world, there are garments God has given to us. We have to put on–not just admire– the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of Truth, shield of salvation, and sword of the Spirit. We even have shoes fitted for taking the gospel out into life. The morning is also the time for us to open our ears to God before all of the other voices clammer for our attention. It is the time we listen to God’s will for our lives for that coming day. In the morning we prepare for the unknown and declare our dependance on God. These things must happen before we launch out into our day. Midday is for making the most of our time. It is for implementation in both action and word. In the afternoon we must pray without ceasing. When we are in pressing situations, we cannot stop praying because it will cause a gap in our relationship with God. We also need to include God in our encounters. As we meet and interact with people–even people in our own homes–we need to ask God what He would have us say and do to help support them and lighten their load. We need to do the same in our work environment whether we work in a factory, an office, or as we care for children at home. We need to ask God to come into each moment, be a part of it, and to show us what to do. We also need to redeem our meal times by being thankful for our meals, but also to realize it is one of the most powerful social interactions that we have available to us.
In the evening, after we have just worked long hours and put the kids to bed, we have a little window of time where we desire to just switch off and freeze and do nothing. Quite honestly, God understands this desire. However, we cannot miss the very strategic and potent things that wait for us in this evening hour. It is true that there are some people that just cannot switch off at night. It says in Job 7:4, “When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.” Many people need some kind of sleep aid just to fall asleep. Job 35:9 says, “Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’” People feel pressed in as they can’t pay the bills, face issues at work, wrestle with family matters, and so they look for the next program or book. These things can be helpful, but in and of themselves they are not enough. The Bible says that God sings over His people. If God has a song for us in the night, we want to hear it! Don’t let it be drown out by the sounds of the television or the radio.
The evening hour is a time of reflection. Reflection means to carefully consider thoughts and actions. We make many mistakes because we don’t stop to examine what occurred in any given day. It is in the evening that we can look back over the last hours and ask God what He was trying to tell us. If you take time to prepare, execute and reflect on each day you can build strength in your life.
How can I properly reflect on my day?
Mediate on what happened throughout your day. Mediation in its simplest definition means thinking deliberately. The Bible has many examples of people meditating on the Word of God and the character of God. Psalm 119:48 says, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Meditating at night gives you a measure of hindsight. You can look back and ask God to show you how His promises apply to a situation that occurred. His Word speaks to us, and we must ask for the strength to obey. Being prosperous as a Christian simply means to walk in the will and ways of God, to have your accounts with Him clean, and allow Him to lead your life as you follow Him. Meditation also means to evaluate, or to appraise. There is a saying that goes, “If you always do what you always did, then you will always get what you always got.” We need to ask ourselves why certain things happen to us over and over again. We have a tendency to get stuck. We get stuck in our relationships and in our circumstances. In some cases it has been years that we have been making no progress. We seem to continue to make the same mistakes and circle around to the same destination. It is time to stop and evaluate why. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” Evaluation can give us a new perspective. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 it says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” We need to take a good, hard look at our lives. Christ, by His Spirit, dwells within us and has a personality. Where is the fruit? If we fail to think deliberately at the end of the day, we ensure that the next day will carry some of those things we have always done, and we will get the same results.
Express appreciation to God for your life. Express your gratitude. At the end of the day, it is nice to stand back and thank God for that which is your life. Go to Him and let Him know that there are things in your life that you don’t understand, yet be appreciative of the fact that He does understand them. Tell God that you know His plans for you are good, and He knows what He is doing. We all have some things in our lives that are unpleasant and wish were not there. If we dwell on these things too much and don’t appreciate the others things we do have, those negative things will take precedence. We will instead focus on those negative things until we are full of bitterness, envy and jealously. In 1 Chronicles 23:30 it says, the people of Israel ”were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening.” Expressing gratitude at night gives us that measure of hindsight. When we dwell on the things that make us uncomfortable and sad, they soon take over our lives. We can override them with gratitude and appreciation. Remember that you have a great life–with some restrictions. Sometimes God allows something bad to happen to us. He shows us, once that thing is gone, all of the things that we do have to appreciate. We are going to spend eternity with our God, and no one can take that away from us.
Confess your sins to God. Things happen throughout the day. Sometimes we make a day all about us, and we make other people miserable. We bathe in the morning, and we need to wash the grime of the world off of us in the evening too. Don’t leave your accounts with God and with others unsettled. If we fail to make confession, things start to compound. Never give the devil a toehold in your life! Never give him just enough to put a little weight on your life. Satan ultimately wants to stand on your head. Don’t take things day after day after day with you. You will become hardened of heart. Nehemiah 1:6 says, “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.” No one has ever lived even one absolutely flawless day in his or her entire life. There is always a wrong thought or action. We should not let it crush us, but we don’t need to carry it with us. Don’t let it change or darken your heart. Ask God for forgiveness for your sins.
Offer praise to God. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” The evening is the time to praise God for His faithfulness to us. In 2 Kings 16:15 it says, “King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest: ‘On the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance.’” These offerings were a way to thank God for His faithfulness for providing the Israelites with food. These people lived in times of war, famine, and drought. They were faced with the agonizing death of starvation. They thanked God for the grain that allowed them to make the “staff of life,” bread. Jesus later said He was the bread of life, which made perfect sense in this culture. In America, we live in a day and age where food is plentiful all of the time, every day. We don’t often think about the food we eat or even stop to properly thank God for it. We live with an abundance of food all around us. The grain, as described in Leviticus, was to be combed to remove the dirt and particles and then have frankincense added to it for aroma. Psalm 141:2 says, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” In Revelation it says that God saves our prayers in golden bowls in His throne room! Our prayers are an incense providing a pleasing aroma to God. To make the grain offering, the grain was added to salt, representing the preservation of God’s promises, and oil, representing the role of the Holy Spirit. They were never to add yeast because it represented being puffed up with pride and arrogance, nor could they add natural sweetness like honey because in our own strength we can do nothing apart from Christ. This was how the grain offering was produced.
Look how your day can end! I hope this series has been helpful to see what potential can be found in any given day. We can start it, walk through it, and end it with such meaning and connection to God instead of falling and stumbling day after day, trying to understand why our faith is so weak. One my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 118:24, which says “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We were not made to bob through life like a piece of driftwood on the ocean. God has given us each day to live out His will for us so that we might glorify our Father in heaven and make a difference in the Kingdom of God. As we do, we will have a closer relationship with Him and made further into His perfect image.