What is your mood first thing in the morning? I had a boss, Mr. Ben Cates, who woke up with bounding energy each day with fresh ideas about how he could improve his business. He would occasionally call me at 5:00 a.m. to share some of those ideas. I do not awake with the same enthusiasm as Mr. Cates.
George Muller, who is known for building orphanages and experiencing God’s miraculous provision, may have faced morning challenges as well. He is quoted as saying, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.”
Muller must have received his direction from Jesus. Did you know our Savior was happier than his friends? It is written of Christ, “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.” There was a joy about Jesus that goes unnoticed by many today.
How can we have joy early in the day? Here are five suggestions:
1. Close the previous day with God’s word. Dawson Trotman, of Navigators fame, had a practice for the sailors and soldiers who would stay in his home on weekends learning to become disciples of Christ. His saying was, “Last word, God’s word.” The idea being that the last thing they heard before going off to sleep was a recitation of a verse or portion of Scripture. You will likely discover that verse will still be with you when you awake.
2. Thank God immediately in the morning. The moment your eyes open in the morning, quickly remember something to thank God for. Whether it be safety through the night, the benefits of sleep, or that you have meaningful work to do this new day and people you love to share your life with, begin the day saying thank you to God.
3. Avoid social media and electronic communication until after you have been with God. Twitter, Factbook, email, and texts can serve as a wormhole to pull us away from more important matters and even darken our thoughts as we are faced first thing with the fallenness around us. Consider putting these aside until you have time to be with God.
4. Meditate on God’s word. This was Muller’s secret. He would quickly open the Bible and, after a brief prayer, begin reading for the purpose of feeding his own soul. He would stop and meditate on the truths of God’s word and would soon find an inner joy rising in him that would strengthen him for laboring in prayer and whatever else came his way.
5. Then move into praise and worship. By this point in the day the awakened believer should be able to rejoice in the Lord and pray earnestly setting the tone for the remainder of the day.
Muller believed his happiness impacted his service to others on behalf of Christ. “For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.”
Happy pastors are better pastors. Happy bosses make better bosses. Happy husbands and wives and mothers and fathers make for happier homes. The happiness we need stems from a relationship with Christ and connecting with Him daily.