Has Your Daily Routine Become a Substitute for Jesus?

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Our lives can easily slip into a routine that substitutes Jesus-driven devotion for performance-driven actions. We don’t intend for worldly concerns to take our Lord’s place. Priorities hammer our schedules, and we slip into what others expect of us. We go through our quiet times and church activities as before, but our mindset changes. The transition occurs while we walk through life experiences and meet one disappointment after another. If only we could do more, be more, then we’d have more visibility and our lives would be better. We forget about grace and worship … and how God created us to have a relationship with him and enjoy the earth, not be slaves to it.

Has the light dimmed in our lives? Have shadows replaced hope and blame stalks us?

  • We shove aside our faith because in our eyes it isn’t helping or adding value to our lives.
  • We push death and how we’ll deal with it later … like when we’re dying.
  • We shake a finger at God for the tragedies exploding around us.
  • We claim God and His ways are archaic and belief in Him is a myth.
  • We look to science for answers and discount the Bible.
  • We drift into cynicism.
  • We work so we don’t have to think or feel the incessant pain.

I remember a time in my life as a single mom raising boys. They played soccer, and games were played on Saturdays. Sometimes tournaments were on Sundays. Early morning games were the hardest because my day job involved a 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. commitment Monday through Friday. Sleeping was a priceless treasure. I started slipping in church attendance to every other week, then every third week. When I slid into a pew with my sons, my mind wandered. Depression hit me hard. Exhaustion pelted me like I was the subject of a stone-throwing contest. Nothing gave me satisfaction or peace. When day-to-day activities became unbearable, a friend questioned my relationship with Jesus, not accusatory but lovingly. I returned to church and found a relationship with Him I’d never experienced before. I’m thankful He is always faithful, even when I ignored Him. God welcomed me back with open arms and helped me manage my schedule, job, life, and sometimes tough parenting.

Substituting Jesus for the world’s expectations never works. Performance levels and selfish desires drive us away from Him.

What are five ways we can keep Jesus front and center in our lives?

  1. Schedule time daily to study the Bible and pray. Choose a quiet place that is absent of distractions and where we can sense God’s presence. Refuse to set a timer that shouts back, “Time’s up! God is off duty now.” If we’re angry, tell Him. If we laugh, cry, complain, or express any emotion, it’s okay. Jesus is strong enough to handle our humanity.
  1. Thank Jesus for the blessings, challenges, tragedies, and victories of our lives. The Bible tells us to count it all pure joy (James 1:2), even the nightmarish moments. We will grow into stronger people when we link arms with Jesus and face the impossible.
  1. Reach out to others with the same love Jesus extends to us. Christianity isn’t practiced solo; it invites community and outreach. Disciple new believers. Mentor those who need direction. When we daily place ourselves on the altar of service for Jesus, we nurture seeds of faith that blossom into kingdom producing children of God.
  1. Practice stewardship not only with our tithes and offerings but also with our time and talents. We’re all given gifts to use for God’s glory. These abilities range from the arts, healing, teaching, sciences, wise counsel, encouragement, hospitality, and more. Our God-given gifts and talents allow us to spread our faith at home, work, and play. The Bible reminds us to do everything as though conducting each task for the Lord (Colossians 3:17).
  1. Worship collectively and privately. When we move away from worship, we distance ourselves from Jesus, the one who gave His life so we may live in with Him in eternity.

Is it time to check our daily routine? Our thoughts and actions show who and what we worship. Commit now to a 24/7 relationship with Jesus and feel His smile on our lives.