Rising Early To Meet God

12/12/2007

I'm not one of those people that loves to get up early. I don't spring out of bed at the first 'beep' of the alarm, alert and ready to tackle the day. When my alarm goes off, I slap it silent, and then spend several minutes lying in bed, trying to muster enough strength to drag my body out from under the covers. During this time my mind is presenting reason after logical reason why I should go back to sleep. But after a few minutes of this mind wrestling I usually manage to slither out from under the covers and drag my sorry carcass into the shower. After the shower I go downstairs and make myself a cup of wake-up juice, otherwise known as high-octane coffee. Finally I sit down to spend some time reading the Bible and praying.

To tell you the truth, there are many days when I would rather turn off the alarm and drift back into the netherworld of sleep. But I'm provoked by the example of men like Jed Dickerson. Jed defines the word passion.

On May 31, 2003, Jed caught a 21 pound 11.2 ounce largemouth bass, the fourth largest in history. The catch was the result of Jed's passion, no obsession, for catching monstrous large mouth bass. After catching his first big bass in 2001, Jed became obsessed with fishing. According to the book Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest For the World Record Largemouth Bass:

He [Jed] started keep a journal of his days on the water, on a wall calendar, with certain promising days circled in dark black ink...He adjusted his work schedule, asking for the 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. shift, so he could maximize his time at the lake. He was exhausted all the time, catching only catnaps at home and during breaks at work. "I can't tell you how many times I've pulled a drifter on the way home from the lake," Jed says, referring to falling asleep at the wheel of his car. But he remained focused on his goal.

Oh that I would be like Jed Dickerson in my pursuit of Jesus Christ! In Philippians 3:12 Paul said, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Paul passionately pressed on towards the goal of knowing Jesus Christ. Notice the words he used: press on, straining. You can hear the vein-popping, muscle-straining effort in Paul's voice. He resolved that he would spend all his energies in the pursuit of Jesus Christ.

I want to emulate Paul. I want my energy and passion to be poured into my pursuit of Christ. If Jed Dickerson is willing to throw himself wholeheartedly into fishing, how much more should I throw myself wholeheartedly into the pursuit of Jesus? And so I desire to rise early to read my Bible and spend time praying. I want to pour myself into loving my wife as Christ loved the church, and raising my daughter in the fear of the Lord. I want to go about my work passionately, working for the Lord rather than for men. I want to serve my church with zeal, giving both my time and energy. I want to press on towards the goal of knowing Jesus Christ.

What about you? What is one area you want to see your passion for God increase? What is one practical step you can take to make that happen? Care to comment?

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

10 comments:

Thanks for the words of encouragement. One area of my life where I want to see my passion for God increase is my prayer life. It is, unfortunately, pretty stagnant.
What do I plan to do about it? Pray and pray and then pray some more. But then I also plan to read about prayer and particularly what some of the Puritans had to say about it.

Ford said...
December 12, 2007 at 9:34 AM  

Ford,

Great thoughts. I really need to grow in prayer as well. I believe it was the puritans who said "pray until you pray". May God grant you increased prayer times.

December 12, 2007 at 9:57 AM  

Prayer is one for me too, i want to also have an increased desire to move in the gifts of the Spirit. The ones i know the Holy Spirit has given me, and also the ones that he has yet to reveal for my life. I also want to Pursue Love as my highest calling, as everything really does stem from it. Prayer Books?
E.M Bounds has written many good books on Prayer, however he is not a Puritan.
Andrew Murray
Charles Finny's principles on Prayer is very challenging but equally encouraging too
Ben

Youngblood said...
December 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM  

Ben,

Great thoughts. As Paul said, we should put on love, which binds everything else together. Thanks for your thoughts...

December 12, 2007 at 8:26 PM  

Sacrificial giving.

I've found that I'm too comfortable with my offerings to the Lord, I'm not lacking in any "luxuries" as a result of my giving. I think this would increase my passion for God because it would make me more reliant on Him when funds start getting low.

Practically speaking, someone in my Bible study gave us a great way of accomplishing this: every time I want something I don't need (co$$ee, fast food, etc.) take the money I would have spent and put it in a jar. At the beginning of every week, drop the money in the offering box. I thought it was a pretty good idea.

JTR Hart said...
December 13, 2007 at 7:47 AM  

JTR,

Ouch, sacrificial giving is a tough one for me too. I agree though, I find myself sitting in luxury when millions around me are in desperate need.

May God give us the grace to give cheerfully!

December 13, 2007 at 8:30 AM  

Just the other day I posted about improving my prayer life and my devotion time alone with God. With three boys, it's hard to find alone time and I need do the same as you... drag my carcass out of bed a little earlier than they get up. :)

The bible is such a wonderful book. Once you think you "know it all", you find something new that you didn't see before. I need to get in the book more.

I'm enjoying your blog. Great thoughts. Thanks!

December 14, 2007 at 3:37 PM  

Becky,

I imagine it would be hard finding time to read scripture while watching three young boys. I find it hard enough just for myself! I pray that God gives you sweet times in his word.

December 14, 2007 at 5:36 PM  

There are many areas that need this passion in my life but thank you for your question at the end of this post. What is one area? What is one practical change you can make? That alone will ripple into other areas that also need changed. That truth has greatly encouraged and helped me over the past few years of my walk with Christ.

For me, the one area would be trust. Trust in my Father as Provider. Trust in my Savior as loving and kind. Trust in the Holy Spirit as the all-sufficient Comfortor. Trust in my God as Sovereign and good. In my church we have been going through a series of how the gospel applies in every situation we face. It has been immensely helpful to see how my adoption changes my relationship with God and how God's detail in the Incarnation is the same detail that He provides in my life.

So, for me the once change has been reading. Reading in the Bible how He protected and continues to protect His children. Reading books on God's charachter - the more I know of Him, the more I'll trust Him. Reading the Valley of Vision and other prayers from folks who intimately knew God. I've found that this helps me to focus throughout the day on what He's done and Who He is rather than my feelings, situations and emotions.

Emily said...
December 17, 2007 at 11:09 AM  

Emily,

Excellent thoughts. It's so true that as we spend time reading about the character of God we grow in our trust in God. As we see that He's trustworthy, we grow in our trust.

December 17, 2007 at 3:00 PM  

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