Every single day, when the alarm goes off at 6am I face a stark choice. Without fail, the choice I make in those first few moments will always ultimately shape the rest of my day. You see, at 6am I need to choose between my personal dragons and following Jesus with all my heart. This is the spiritual warfare that I face each and every morning.
Let me explain what both choices look like:
At 6am my alarm goes off, as some of you will know we have a toddler and sometimes the nights are not as peaceful as we would hope for. Actually, as I write this article we have had two particularly bad nights where my wife and I have been woken up 3-4 times. So my alarm goes off, I open up one eye and then the other and stretch over to, invariably, hit the snooze button – this is the moment when my dragons first appear and believe me, they are relentless.
The first dragon says “…well that was a bad night, you are so tired. You had better stay here for another hour, you need the rest, you are going to be tanked for the rest of the day!”
I, personally, find this dragon the hardest to slay. He sounds so reasonable, and quite frankly I do feel a sense of entitlement to have more rest after a sleepless night. However, I know deep down that unless I fight this dragon head on, the next battle will be much more damaging to my day.
So I jump out of bed, and make myself a strong coffee.
The second dragon says “…well done for getting up, look at how much time you have before the world really gets going. Why don’t you just crack on straightaway, take some of the pressure off yourself? By 9am you will really be ahead of the game, and besides you can read the Bible later!”
I feel more able to push this dragon away, maybe it is because I now have my wits about me. That said, which one of us doesn’t jump at the chance of being ahead of the game. But then again, which one of us is able to withstand the battles of the average day without the Word of God firmly rooted in our hearts.
So I remind myself, this is not just a quiet time, this is an essential routine to ensure that I am battle ready.
Finally, the third dragon comes. He doesn’t say anything. He just waits until I am about to pray and then he cranks up his fog machine. Suddenly, I am so distracted, I don’t have a clue what to pray for and my energy for all this is diminishing. Once again this particular dragon is a bit tenacious and so I must turn my gaze back to Jesus, maybe I read a psalm or two, listen to some worship, whatever it takes to get my focus back onto the Lord.
At 7am, I sit down to breakfast knowing that I have gained the victory for today. The victory will be shortlived, tomorrow I will need to slay those dragons again. Then again, following Jesus really does mean taking up the cross everyday and doing whatever it takes.
There are many days when it doesn’t go quite so well, and I know it. However, as we often say at CVM: “If I fail I will not give up. He never gives up on me.” (Code XII)
Your dragons will, undoubtedly, be very different from mine – but slaying them daily will be every bit as important. There really is a dailyness to following Christ.
Go well and be blessed…
Image Credit: Andrés Montoya