Daily devotions for those who are pressed for time: Practical Advice from a Puritan

Thomas Gouge: Christian Directions

As you are rising out of your bed, take every occasion for holy and heavenly meditations. To give you some hints:

  • When you see the nakedness of your body, let that mind you of your sins, which caused you first to be ashamed of it. For our first parents, before they had sinned, were not ashamed of their nakedness (Genesis 2:25). And the consideration thereof should stir you up earnestly to long after the robe of Christ’s righteousness, and to be clothed with that which will make you lovely and amiable in the sight of God.
  • Let your rising out of bed remind you of the resurrection from the death of sin unto the life of grace; likewise the resurrection of your body out of the grave into eternal life at the last day, when you and every one of us must appear before the great Judge to give an account of whatsoever we have done here. Let the light of the day mind you of Jesus Christ, who is often in Scripture described as light—yes, the true Light.
  • When you are putting on your apparel, let out your heart in a serious meditation of the robe of Christ’s righteousness. And by faith, apply Christ and His righteousness unto yourself, resting and relying upon it for the pardon and forgiveness of your sins here on earth, and for eternal salvation hereafter.

This will be a special means to keep worldly, wanton, and impure thoughts out of your heart, so that either they will not dare to come in or they shall more easily be kept out. This way your heart will be exceedingly fenced and guarded against the strategies of Satan, who wants to cast his hellish firebrands into your soul.

I say again: good and holy thoughts first let into the heart of a Christian will keep it in better tune all the day after. But some will object to this, saying that to put in practice these rules and directions will take up too much time—more than their callings and employments will allow. True it is that some men’s callings and employments do not allow them so much time as others do; yet there are none who cannot find some time for spiritual and heavenly meditations if it be no more than rising out of their beds and putting on their clothes.

If you have not time to put in practice all of these directions, at least you may go over some few of them. Yes, I shall give you this as my special advice: if you are strained for time, fix upon one or two of these directions rather than attempting to perform all of them in a perfunctory manner; do not ramble over them all every morning.

In addition to these morning meditations, as soon as you get up, go into your closet, or into some private place, and there offer up to God a morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Let anything be omitted rather than this. If your business be urgent and great, rise sooner. Do not attempt anything until you have commended yourself and your affairs to God by prayer. And indeed, how can you with any confidence expect God’s blessing upon your pains and endeavours without it, this being the means sanctified by God for the obtaining of His blessing? If you take any liberty to omit this duty, the devil will so work upon you that, little by little, you will wax weary of it if God’s grace is not the more powerful in you.