August 13, 2007

Delighting in the Day, Part 4: Guard Your Steps

Guard your steps as you go near to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do know they are doing evil. Ecclesiastes 5.1

Do you remember what it was like to study for exams in high school? I remember one of the first exams I ever took—Social Studies with Mrs. Hix. I wanted to do well so badly that, the morning of the exam, my Social Studies notes and I were in a world of our own. Nothing was allowed to enter my mind unless it had to do with this exam—not small talk with my buddies…not music on the radio…not math or science or language arts. No, this was a day set aside for Social Studies! I was “guarding my steps” on the way to my exam—making sure nothing I had learned got pushed out of my brain by some other needless piece of information. Some of you could recount similar stories.

Most of us now realize that those frightening final exams weren’t nearly as important as we once thought. But somehow, most of us are less intense about things that are much more important. And the Lord’s Day is a perfect example.

Has not God told us that, if we would cease from doing our own thing on His holy day, we would ride on the heights of the land (Isaiah 58.13-14)? Clearly He has. But aside from an hour or two in the morning and maybe another in the evening, many of us treat Sunday just like any other day. How many of us are careful to block out everything that would derail our thoughts from the living God on His holy day? How many of us “guard our steps” all day long to ensure that we take advantage of a whole day set apart to think about and worship God? Precious few.

Loved ones, I need to tell you something that will be hard to swallow. Sunday papers, ball games, yard work, house cleaning, shopping, television, and other secular activities might not the best way to prepare for or to digest a Sunday meal of worship and learning. They tend to push God back out of our minds. So why not exclude these and other secular activities from the realm of possibility altogether on Sundays? And why not replace them with Bible-reading, Christian books, fellowship, prayer, and rest? This is the whole point of a day of rest! Finally we have time for focused attention on God!

Six days of our lives are frenzied with activity. God knows this better than we do. So He has set aside one day when this doesn’t have to be so. We don’t have to be distracted on Sunday if we don’t want to. What a gift! I hope you’ll take full advantage and delight in this special day!

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