Prepare

There are mornings I pray the words of the Matt Redman song over my day:

“Let me be singing when the evening comes” (10,000 Reasons).

The truth is we can’t be sure we’ll be singing when we reach that long-awaited retreat.

In the mornings when we leave, we never know what awaits us outside our walls. We never know what anxiety, what landmines, what snares, what traps lurk behind each turn (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8).

Days feel like gauntlets and are evil (Ephesians 5:16). Exchanges and conversations like the strikes and lashes of an angry mob, passive aggressive and insistent they are on your team. Yet they line up to exhaust you, catching you if you’re unprepared.

If the battle is out there, then the work starts in here. In the mornings, in your homes. Aligning yourself with Jesus. Getting your game faces on. Preparing for anything (1 Peter 5:8).

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

(Ephesians 6)

It’s like Paul knew what your days would be like.

And though he cannot do anything to change the battle, to change the enemy, to change what lies in wait for you,

he can encourage you to change how you prepare.

I have heard people say they don’t have time for a quiet time.

Excuse my frankness, but you don’t have time not to have one.

I have heard others say theirs occurs before bed. Which is a good start. Only it’s a lot like putting on your armor after returning from battle. It works better on the front end.

In the end, you cannot change the gauntlet waiting for you out there.

Learn to get your mind right here.

Seek God in the mornings. Learn to pray and to read. To place gentle and overt reminders around yourself all day long that He is in charge, that you are His, and that you walk in His grace and authority.

Be proactive, not reactive (1 Peter 5:8).

Then, come what may, you will be singing when the evening comes.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

Amen.

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