For a while I’ve been setting an alarm on my phone with the intention of going to the gym for a morning workout. Every morning when I wake up to that alarm, I look for any excuse not to go to the gym. Sometimes I’ve already conjured up an excuse the night before!

“I’m still sore from that last workout 4 days ago …”
“I have a lot of work to catch up on, so I need to start as early as possible …”
“I went to bed later than usual, so I need that extra sleep …”

But on occasion, I am able to get out of bed and make my way to the gym. I’ve noticed that on those days, my body is operating at a higher energy level. I think there is scientific support for that—something to do with exercise increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Whatever the reason, it is clear to me that starting off the day with a morning workout provides real, tangible benefits. Still, despite this knowledge, I still find myself struggling each morning to get out of bed to do something that I know is good for me!

In the same way, I know there is no better way to start the day off than in God’s presence—whether by prayer, reading the Word, daily devotions, or praising Him in song. When I set aside time in the morning to be with Him, I am able to properly align my heart, mind, and soul to Him. All the stress, distractions, and negative thoughts seem to disappear and are replaced with joy, peace, and comfort. I’m no longer worried about all the things on my checklist that need to be done; rather, I have a renewed sense of focus and desire to honor Him in all that I do.

Yet, there are too many mornings where I’m convincing myself that I need to do this and that instead of communing with God. I tell myself I’m too busy and that I can’t possibly “spare” 30 minutes to pray and read the Word. Or maybe I’ll pencil God for an afternoon or evening appointment after my more important priorities are handled. Then the day is over and I’ve spent exactly zero minutes with God, but I made time to watch TV, listen to sports podcasts, and go down a YouTube rabbit hole.

The first of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” That means putting Him first. One way for us to put Him first is to interact with Him first thing in the morning. The Gospels mention Jesus waking up early in the morning to pray. David prayed in Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Let’s follow the example of Jesus, David, and others in the Bible, and start the morning the best way possible—in the presence of our Father.

In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
Give me Jesus.

Jeffrey Wan is a deacon at GRC.  As if he didn’t have enough excuses, his gym commute has recently increased from less than a mile to 5+ miles.