How can families start their day the right way?

The Foundation of Parenting: God’s Word
How can families start their day the right way?

     “Every morning millions of people get off to the wrong start!” proclaims a television commercial. The ad then goes on to promote their brand of coffee to get the day off to the right start. With or without coffee, starting the day in the right way is an important issue in our fast-paced culture. This issue is so significant that companies promote the sale of their products around it. How can believers get their day off to the right start? We will consider some helpful steps families can take physically, mentally, and spiritually to start their day in the right way—with God’s peace as the standard.
     Why would believers want to start their day peacefully? The Word of God plainly advises seeking peace and pursuing it. Psalms 34:14 says: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” We can see that being at peace requires some effort on our part.
     Romans 14:19 also gives the believer God’s heart for being at peace: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace….” The words “follow after” mean to pursue, to seek after eagerly, or to earnestly endeavor to acquire. Again, we can see this takes some action. Believers are to pursue, seek after eagerly, and earnestly endeavor to acquire peace.
     The bedrock of a believer’s peace is found in what Jesus Christ accomplished. As Romans 5:1 states: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We’ve been justified, or as one description says, it’s “just as if I’d” never sinned. We have peace with God because of the prince of peace, Jesus Christ, and all that he accomplished by his life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
     We also find a powerful verse on peace in Colossians 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule [umpire] in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” In this verse, the Greek word for “rule” is an athletic term meaning “to umpire.” This word refers originally to the activity of the umpire whose office at the games was to direct, arbitrate, and decide the contest. The umpire determines the application of the “rule book” in an objective and impartial way in a contest. Believers let the peace of God umpire in an objective and impartial way and decide, based on God’s “Rule Book,” what to think, what to believe, and what actions to take as they start their day.
     Colossians 3:15 in The Amplified Bible states this concept beautifully: “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”
     So, if our mornings are hectic and getting off to a wrong start, what is a key deciding factor to getting us off to the right start? We can ask, “Am I at peace? Is my household at peace?” If the answer is “Not as often as I’d like,” then let’s look at what we can do to seek and pursue peace as we start our day.
     Let’s begin by considering the physical side of life. One very important ingredient to starting our day the right way is being rested. The body needs good rest to stay at peak performance. For the average adult, research has shown that going to bed in time to receive seven to eight hours of sleep helps the body and mind function to the optimum. (Children often require more than eight hours.) Then once we’re awake, a breakfast full of nutritional value helps to contribute to the body functioning at its best.
     Getting the best amount of rest and nutritional food requires thinking ahead to provide these elements. Preparing on the weekend for the coming week and in the evening for the next day can help us get the day going in the right way without feeling rushed or hurried.
     On the weekend we could prepare ahead for the coming week by doing the family finances, filling the car with gas, shopping for groceries, and preparing some healthy meals. Other preparations might include doing the laundry and ironing, changing sheets, and cleaning the house. Having major tasks done ahead leaves the weekday evenings freer for handling the day-to-day responsibilities.
     Some tasks can be done the night before to help the morning run more smoothly. For example, the children might pack their school lunches, or Mom could set the lunch money on the counter. Each family member could set out the next day’s clothing and gather up needed materials (schoolbooks, homework, signed permission slips, work papers) for the coming day. In the evening, baths or showers can also be taken. Schedules and travel arrangements for after-school activities can be resolved, and each person could take a few moments to plan the next day on paper.
     With responsibilities like these taken care of, the morning should go more smoothly and peacefully, provided we get up early enough to carry out the morning’s tasks that remain. Some examples of these are starting the day with the Father in mind, taking care of our personal grooming, eating breakfast, and leaving for school or work in plenty of time to arrive on time without being rushed….

This is an excerpt from the July/August 2006 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2006 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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