Not Naturally a Morning Person
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:17-18
I used to be a night owl. It was my nature to stay up late, watching TV and wasting time. Then, I’d sleep as late as I could, cursing my alarm and late night when my alarm went off. I tried a few times to exercise early in the day, but I hated getting out of bed and spent my time at the gym simply trying to wake up. I never got up early to read my Bible or pray, which meant I never got around to doing those things at all. I had a lot of other self-destructive behaviors going on, but in retrospect, I didn’t like this life very much.
Everything had to change when I got sober. In pursuing recovery, it became a matter of life and death to get up early and point my life at God. I began to approach my schedule with purpose. It wasn’t easy. I had to make myself go to bed early so I could wake up early. Eventually though, my morning coffee with God became so important to me that I now can’t imagine not doing it. Over time, I became a morning person. I still have some bad habits (gluttony) that I need to work on, but honestly, I love my life now.
Developing healthy habits wasn’t natural. You know what happened naturally? My addiction. I’m not saying that sleeping in late leads to drugs. I’m simply saying that following my impulsive nature leads to misery. I don’t naturally build healthy behaviors. When I do whatever feels good in the moment, I self-destruct. To create healthy patterns of behavior requires work – but brings life in the end.
James pointed this out in today’s passage. In the preceding verses, he pointed out that sin and its destructive consequences are born out of our evil desires. Today’s verses describe the reciprocal. From God comes life. In following the word of truth, we live in the light, experiencing every good gift and every perfect gift from above, coming down from the Father of lights. This doesn’t mean we’ll get money and toys, but it does mean that in following God, rather than our impulsive nature, we’ll build a life of joy and peace instead of one of misery and addiction.
It’s always harder to do what’s right in the moment. In purposefully doing so though, we build good habits. In abandoning our nature to follow God, we find authentic life.