While many Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus last weekend, Monday quickly shifts priorities. Instead of the joy of the risen Christ, there is the daily commute, packing lunches for kids headed to school, or other daily tasks that can quickly erase the excitement of the previous day.
Easter is the high point for those who follow Christ. But how can we continue to build on this momentum today and in the days to follow? There may be no “one” thing, but these five insights have been helpful in my life and lives of other believers over the year.
Prayer is for the soul what oxygen is for the lungs. We cannot successfully live without prayer, nor should we try.
When we pray, we seek God’s best for each moment of our day. It’s not always talking, but rather an ongoing conversation with our Creator. Just as Adam and Eve experienced a close daily relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, we are to seek his presence daily rather than one day per week.
Psalm 1 says the person who is blessed and prosper meditates on God’s words day and night. These lyrics were penned in a time before widespread literacy and availability to the Bible. Instead of regular reading, most people had to settle for hearing God’s Word and meditating or thinking about the words each day.
We are blessed to live in a time when most of us can read and have access to the Bible. Yet many of us take these blessings for granted. Instead of winding down the day with television or catching up on social media, take a few moments to read from the Psalms, the Gospels, or another part of Scripture that helps you remain focused on what matters most.
The Jewish people were given the law of the Sabbath. Every Friday sunset until Saturday sunset, no regular work was to be done. Instead of living in constant slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt, the Jews were commanded and blessed with one day each week to refrain from work.
While Christians are not commanded to follow the Sabbath law today, the principle of weekly rest endures as wise advice. When we make time to rest for a full day each week, we live a less rushed existence that allows us to better fix our eyes on God, enjoy his creation, and better care for the people around us.
Fasting (refraining from eating to focus on God) is not commanded in the New Testament, but it was expected. Jesus said, “When you fast…” assuming his followers would at least occasionally do so. When Paul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary trip, it also came after a time of prayer and fasting. Fasting also occurred before choosing church leaders, revealing its importance in focusing on hearing God’s voice.
If you haven’t taken time to fast before to pray and focus on God, you may want to give it a try. You should check with your doctor first (Remember, this is not medical advice!), but most people can endure a 24-hour period without food and remain healthy (Just drink a lot of water or juice instead.).
We live in a rushed culture. We rush to work or school, rush to finish our work, rush home, rush to activities, rush to eat, and statistically sleep less now than in past generations. This pattern causes us to reflect less, missing out on the many powerful ways God is at work around us.
When we think about his Spirit and its works in our lives, we instead give up our control to emphasize his control of our lives. Though we tend to think about what we “do” and how we “decide,” God is the one who created us, sustains us, and gives us the strength to accomplish all we do.
The resurrection offers a powerful reminder of the hope we have in Christ. But Easter is not the end; it is a new beginning. Start your week with new patterns that reflect the new life you have in him.
Dr. Dillon Burroughs is one of America’s top communicators on today’s Christian issues. He serves as senior writer of The John Ankerberg Show and is author or coauthor of nearly 40 books. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He lives with his wife and three children in Tennessee.