This is War! Do You Know It Is War? (Pt. 2)

Useful recap on the Previous Post

In my previous post, I tried to explain how beautiful and significant every morning is. Every morning we are granted a privilege by the True and Living God, to wake up to a bright new day with new mercies from Him and grace upon grace to live out a life full of divine kingdom-minded purpose.

This significance is anchored in God and cannot be realised outside of Him. We don’t just take his blessing and run off to spend it how we please like the prodigal son. We have to understand that He is the blessing and therefore, being with Him is absolutely necessary and although we go out into the world to our daily vocation, His presence never leaves us.

This makes it ridiculous to start a day without sitting at His feet, being reminded of His transcendence and the need for His name to be hallowed in our lives, His Kingdom and Will being done as it is in Heaven and asking for our daily bread because we understand our desperate need for His provision. Acknowledging our sin and forgiveness in Christ, being reminded that we are only righteous in Him and asking for the grace to extend his forgiveness to others. Asking for His great help in keeping us from evil which we so easily want to do and committing all the numerous temptations which will come our way during the day as our adversary the devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us.

I’m quite sure you’ve seen that the previous paragraph is basically The Lord’s Prayer. You might think, “well, I could just say the prayer in a minute in the morning and be on my way.”

Are you serious?

If you feel this way, I am sad for you. That was me literally just months ago. The Holy Spirit had to awaken love for Jesus and truth in my heart to help me see that spending time with Jesus in the morning should be something I greatly desire to do and derive my all from, such that even on mornings when I battle with complacency I remind myself of the grace, help and joy I stand to lose, wrestle off my cold affections and come before Jesus.

That is the place to be. When you have this mindset, Jesus will help you enjoy Him more as you submit day by day to coming before Him and spending genuine time with Him. A Bible verse which perfectly explains how you would possibly ever enjoy meeting Jesus every morning, is: Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

This is a Full Blown War – Don’t Underestimate it!

When you have understood the importance of meeting with Jesus every morning and resolved to do so through his help, would it be smooth sailing? No. The devil will intensify his efforts to subdue this new found enjoyment of the spring of life and joy. He will embark on a full blown war to prevent you from showing up at the feet of Jesus every morning.

Jesus stands ever ready to help you through the Holy Spirit’s help. However, you have to play your role, obediently showing up every morning regardless of how you feel or what the circumstances are.

What I hope to achieve at the end of this blog post is help you see that this is War! So you can brace yourself and stand in the strength Jesus will give you, ready to fight for Joy (as John Piper would say) every morning of the remaining days of your life.

Strategies The Devil Employs

Before I begin, let me put out a disclaimer. I am no specialist on the devil and his schemes. I’m just 29 years old as I write this and have been a committed follower of Jesus for less than a decade. However, what God tells us through scripture and how I have seen his warnings to be absolutely true by observing the devil’s fiery darts in my life, give me a firm basis to identify some strategies the devil employs to stop me from knowing real life and help in Jesus every morning. I’m eager to share with you:

He Lies and Encourages destructive ways of Thinking

He lies that meeting Jesus every morning is just an activity which is not truly changing me.

This is one lie which I have battled and won’t stop battling everyday till I am with Jesus in person. Don’t believe this lie! Believe the truth that being with Jesus is transforming you!

Some mornings you will obediently come before God, pray to him, read his word and sing yet leave feeling it was just an activity which left no observable impact. The devil will spout lies and attempt to drive this lie deep such that you begin to question if you are just being religious or if there is something wrong with you.

Keep showing up every morning sister. Keep going brother. God is transforming you every blessed day. You will look back and see how he was tirelessly weaving intricate heart transformation strings into the fabric of your life.

He lies that putting a structure in place to aid your commitment to meet with Jesus, is not necessary or that it is religious.
I grew up in Nigeria and will never forget my judgemental stance whenever older Christians would speak about the importance of deciding on a time every morning and honouring that time to meet with the Lord or singing a song/hymn or praying before reading the Bible etc.

Why put any rigid arrangements? I felt it would just be religious; I felt my time with Jesus should be ‘spontaneous’ based on the ‘vibes’ I had with every different morning. The devil loves this destructive idea. He will stand by your side cheering you on the road to inconsistent spontaneity. Resist him!

Every formal/informal arrangement in the world always has a time set to it to ensure amongst other things, that it actually happens. When you want to meet up with a friend, one of the first things you do is decide on a time. How much more meeting with God?

Even if you don’t want to be as rigid as setting a specific time, set a time bracket. Never leave this to chance. If you don’t you will end up always compromising and prioritising things such as getting to work early or sleeping for 30 minutes more, over spending time with Jesus. Also, what’s wrong with deciding to sing a song every morning and praying before you read and after? Prayerfully decide on a format/schedule and actual means you will use to enjoy Jesus each morning.

In my experience, structure will provide an environment and foster spontaneity in your conversation with Jesus and how you spend time with Him. Structure will help it thrive rather than hinder it.

He lies that if you miss a day or couple of days, it doesn’t really matter. After all, ‘you’ve been really good’ the past couple of days/weeks. Surely God will understand.
The devil will encourage your heart to take refuge in this destructive way of thinking.

First of all, it shows that your focus has shifted from the truth that it is God who is enabling you to desire him and making it possible for you to actually follow through by showing up every morning. Your attention has now shifted to yourself and a skewed sense that it depends on you has emerged as a result.

You have also forgotten that you desperately need a renewed mind which sees and honours God clearly every morning before going into the day, such that you need to meet with him. Now, you somehow think that the consequences of not meeting him for just a day can’t be that serious. You have forgotten that our “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” (Ephesians 6:12). You are underestimating the magnitude of this battle. Resist the devil! Run to Jesus and confess that you’ve realised this, ask Him to restore a right spirit within you.

There will be times when no matter how hard you try, somehow, you will fail to show up and enjoy a blessed time with Jesus one morning; His grace is sufficient for you. Rise and continue to run the race. Only be mindful that this failure is a rarity not a slumber you’re settling into.

Beware of Subtle Self-Sabotage

I’ll end this blog post with this section. I have hopefully helped you see that the Devil is waging war to keep you from spending every morning with Jesus. But do you know that we are often our greatest enemy when it comes to this? Some long-term patterns and habits we have held onto for so long, can sabotage even the strongest desire to spend time with Jesus every morning.

Watch the Night Time. Sleep is a God-imposed blessing

When I was a child, there were things which my parents imposed on me, which although undesirable at the time, turned out to be great blessings to me. If my parents could do this, how much more God the Father? (Matt 7:11). God our Father knows best what to impose on us, to refresh our being and optimize our productivity.

Sleep is one of such things he has imposed on us, to bless us. We may try to alter this and grow into a pattern which we may argue works for us. However, the truth is that no one gets away with cheating sleep. Even if in the interim it seems you are successfully doing so, the cumulative effect will lie in wait for you in the future, when you are older.

I remember the James Bond Movie – Die Another Day. There was a scene where the villain in the person of Gustav Graves, had just arrived town descending from the sky in a flawless fashion using a parachute. Immediately he touched the ground, a crowd of reporters lay in ambush with many questions. One reporter asked:

“You seem to work 24/7; is it true that you don’t need sleep?”

With a prideful smirk on his face, he said:
“You only get one shot on life; why waste it on sleep?”

I loved this saying; I used it to justify years of destructive indulgence in depriving myself of sleep. It is really scary how our habits can find solace in a line from a movie and fuse to become some sort of creed which has a hold on our lives.

Many mornings in my 29 years on earth, I sincerely desired to wake up, pray, read my bible and sing. But this desire was undone because time and time again, I was not disciplined enough to lie down and sleep at a sensible time of the night.

During my late teen years to most of my twenties, I used to be known to use the term “night owl” to describe myself. This seemed to be a cool description to justify my habit of being occupied with something late into the night simply because I enjoyed it. It was a language of indulgence fortified with excuses that I found it easier to concentrate at night due to the serenity and a hundred more excuses.

The earlier you sleep, the earlier you will be able to rise. The earlier you sleep, the more satisfying your sleep will be, especially when you have to be up early. The earlier you rise and with an awake, fresh countenance, the deeper your concentration and joy in spending time with God. Respect God’s imposed blessing of sleep. This puts you in a prime position to tune your heart to the beauty and life in His blessed word in the morning.

Phones will rob you of life! Put them in their rightful place!

Do I need to say more here? The sub-heading captures my heart. I’m obsessed with my phone. As soon as a notification sound or image pops up, I am summoned to click and see. At night before bed, I am scrolling through my Twitter feed endlessly, sleeping off while holding my phone, yet fighting to stay awake to keep scrolling.

Immediately I wake up in the morning (usually to an alarm on the phone) after I snooze or turn off the alarm, I see notifications and if I’m not careful, I end up travelling down a rabbit hole of endless scrolling and find that the better half of my first waking hour has been spent. That’s not even the saddest part. Usually, I would have come across some news or post which would have brought me down emotionally or riled me up to feel anger at an injustice or killing or something. Then having spent this time, I can often just feel like compensating myself for the time lost by immediately commencing the day’s activities, often at the expense of spending time with Jesus.

We need to put our phones in their rightful place. These are technological devices which should primarily enable us communicate and connect with friends, family, people in general and which as Christians should be subjected to helping us live Kingdom-focused lives.

We don’t always need to be on our phones. The world does not need to hear from us. We need to hear from God, live lives full of purpose and phone use should be subjected to this hierarchy, not impact it so much as to sit above it. Fight your phone-god!

Final Words

There’ll be a third and final blog post in these series. Having read this second post in the series, may God help you identify more ways the devil is trying to destroy the deeply transforming mornings you can enjoy with Jesus and ways in which you are sabotaging yourself. If you already know some ways I have not captured which you have witnessed personally in your struggle, please share in the comments below and bless others! Let’s bring it all into the light!

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