The First Fruits of Our Day
I want to just take a moment at the beginning tonight and share a bit about what mine and Shane’s evenings look like once we put the kids to bed. We like to put our kids to bed early so that we can have time to spend together, and more importantly time to spend with our Lord. As soon as the kids are tucked in and their door is closed we try our best to get our Bible’s open right away and to begin reading and studying from wherever we left off the night before. Our goal right now is to read and study a new passage one night, then study it further and blog it out the next night. After spending anywhere from 1.5-2 hrs (sometimes longer) doing our devotions we share with each other what we’ve discovered and learned and talk it out together. Then we usually make popcorn or nachos for a late night snack, I feed the baby and then go to bed. This is the ideal night anyway, of course we often get called back to our kids room after the door is closed for additional hugs, drinks, bathroom visits, etc., and many times there are dishes waiting for us in the sink or the baby wants to be fed early. When things come up we readjust.
About two years ago we realized that though we felt so obligated to get up early in the morning to spend time with the Lord the “first fruits” of our day was actually in the evening after our kids were in bed. That is our best time of day. Sure we may be tired from a long day, but we’re much more alert than at 6am. It’s also the time of day that we used to crash on the couch and watch a movie or TV every night and just waste the time away on ourselves. We now give that time to God instead. The reason I wanted to share about this part of our lives is because I used to always say, “It’s so hard to find the time to read my Bible every day.” And maybe you’ve said or felt the same way. It might feel, at first, like an impossibility or too huge a sacrifice to do your devotions in the evening when you’re used to spending that time on yourself, but can I encourage you that although there are evenings where I still feel like that, as soon as I am in the Word and hearing from the Holy Spirit I am refreshed and thankful for that time. Maybe the first fruits (the best time) of your day isn’t the evenings, the encouragement is to find that time and to dig in. For married couples, it’s also a great way to talk about things that matter and to spend quality time together.
I’ve talked a little longer than I expected about this (I tend to “over-detail” things) but let me share one more thought. The desire to eat food comes from physical hunger, the desire to read the Word (the Bread of Life) comes from spiritual hunger. If a person, day after day, was never hungry for physical food it would signal a health problem, the same principle applies to a lack of appetite for the Word. If you aren’t hungry for God’s Word please take time to seriously consider why.
Quiet in the Face of Injustice
Jesus was innocent. He was perfect, he was pure, he was blameless. What happened to him from the moment of his arrest to his dying breath on the cross was unjust from man’s perspective. He did not deserve it, he did not have to endure it. So how did he respond to the injustice of men when he came face to face with it? Let’s read in Matthew 27…
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
(Matthew 27:11-14 ESV)
He remained quiet. He had been betrayed by someone who professed to love him, he had been lied about by the leaders of the church, the chief priests and elders tried to turn the people against him and were largely successful, he was beaten and mocked by the church leaders and then tortured and killed at the hands of the Romans. In light of his innocence this could be recorded as the greatest injustice of all time. So why wasn’t it? Why did he not defend himself, why did he remain silent? Many of you reading will say, “It’s obvious, he knew he had to die. It’s why he came.” And the short answer is, yes, he did know but there is more to it. He knew he had to die because he was the Son of God and knew it was the sovereign will of God. He would not fight the Sovereign Will of God because it is not unjust, it is holy and perfect and it “works all things together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Crying out Against Injustice
Now obviously it is our duty to defend and to work for justice on behalf of the weak and the needy, and we should do it vigorously for the sake of the gospel, that God’s mercy and love would be shown through our actions and words. But when the tide of injustice washes over us are we able to follow Jesus example and remain silent, trusting in the sovereign will of God? Joyful and still in His presence knowing that He will both defend and shelter us from the destruction of our faith. 1 Peter 1:3-5 says that He is “guarding our salvation” through our faith.
Honestly, I am personally so convicted as I write this out tonight. How quick I can be at times to complain when even the smallest of injustices threatens me and my comfort. Maybe you can relate. Someone cuts you off while driving, a promotion is given to someone else when you were more deserving, a waitress or sales clerk is rude, or perhaps something more serious like an untimely loss of a loved one, a theft, or hurtful slander from a friend. Injustice can be irritating or devastating but our Savior demonstrated to us, through his silence before his accusers, the hope we can cling to while we endure the grievances of life. Hope in the Sovereign Will of God.
Joni Eareckson Tada said this about it,
It is a glorious thing to know that your Father God makes no mistakes in directing or permitting that which crosses the path of your life. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is our glory to trust Him, no matter what.
There are times when God sees it to be necessary for his children to face various trials. Allowing hardships and pain can be an act of mercy towards us who belong to him because he is disciplining, shaping, and correcting us so that we will be purified for the glory of His Name.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)
The “genuineness of your faith” is vital. Should anything be more important than that to you? Your eternity depends on it. In light of that, is there any trial that is not worth your eternal life? If your faith wasn’t genuine would you not be thankful to God for revealing that to you by any means necessary?
Look to Jesus
In closing, consider who God is. The Bible tells us that he is loving, slow to anger, all knowing, all powerful, long suffering, and he IS the definition of Good. So should it really be difficult to trust him no matter what comes our way? If we have the mind of Christ in us (Philippians 2:5) and his Spirit in us then we are able to join him in quietly trusting our Sovereign and Loving Father as we face his good purposes, knowing that even when our circumstances scream injustice that they have been wisely planned for our benefit and his glory.
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV)
Preparing the Way,
~ Danae Martin