The Top Five Essentials of Every Single Day



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 20:1–6 

When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.


Every day I consider that I need five basic things to live well:

  1. Sunlight—especially exposure to morning sunlight and in my eyes.
  2. Exercise—My rule: Trying to do everything is the enemy of something. Anything is better than nothing, so just do something.
  3. Diet—not to be confused with dieting, but a daily diet made up mostly of whole foods grown in good soil.
  4. Sleep—I try to be as circadian as possible, rising and retiring with the sun. 

You are wondering, What is the one more? Correct, I said five things. Here’s a hint. It begins with the letter E. It falls into the category of “one of these things is not like the others.” This one more thing is so powerful and profound that it can make up for a deficit in any or all of the other four needs. Whereas the four things listed above deal with bodily or physical needs, the fifth engages the deepest need of our spirit. I would go so far as to say that if we have this fifth gift, we can go for a time with the complete absence of the other four. It’s that powerful and important. And you are probably also scratching your head in wonder and asking, “Where is Jesus and the Bible and prayer and all the stuff you talk about every day?” Bear with me. 

So what do you think the missing element is? I have written an entire Wake-Up Call series on it. I describe it as the very currency of the kingdom of God—all at once supernatural and ordinary. For people attempting to follow Jesus into the will of God, this word is next to the air we breathe. 

We see it prominently in today’s text. Scan back over the text quickly and see if you can pick up what I am talking about.

When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, . . . 

You see it now, don’t you? It is encouragement. This is one of the underlying themes of the whole book of Acts. Remember Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement.” 

I called my series (which is now a book) But Encourage One Another Daily As Long As It Is Called Today.  Yep, that’s straight out of the Word of God—Hebrews 3:13a. It’s a good day for me when I can title a book with an actual text from Scripture. In that series, I developed a working biblical definition of encouragement that I will share here:

To encourage in the biblical sense of the term is to stand in the stead and agency of Jesus, participating in the work of the Holy Spirit, to minister grace to human beings at the level of their inner person [inmost being], communicating, conveying, and imparting life, love, courage, comfort, consolation, joy, peace, hope, faith, and other dispensations and manifestations of the kingdom of heaven as the moment invites or requires. 

Every person needs encouragement every day. If divine love is the language of the Holy Spirit, then encouragement is the dialect. The Spirit encourages us. When we say, “Come, Holy Spirit,” we are saying many things, among them is, “Fill me with courage.” The Holy Spirit will also readily encourage others through us and vice versa. Ask him to fill you with encouragement for others today. I’m praying about turning this book into a training.

Recapping—here are the five essential needs of every single day: Sunshine. Exercise. Encouragement. Diet. Sleep.

Anybody out there spotting the marvelously serendipitous acronym formed by the first letter of each word yet? 

You’re welcome! 


Father, thank you for the way you encourage us through the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the people of God. Would you train me in the way both of receiving encouragement and also in imparting encouragement to others? Grant me a sensitivity to your Spirit that I might have, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary” (50:4). Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Which among the five daily essentials are you succeeding with? Which poses more of a struggle for you? Now, who will you encourage today?


Today we will sing “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” (hymn 361) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. Grab a copy of my book on encouragement here. It will encourage you and train you to become a professional encourager! 

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily and please share this link with friends.

Share today's Wake-Up Call!


WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I’m all in on all five essentials. Being retired and living on the land some of these daily essentials are more readily available to me than other folks. I know that by adding a sixth essential it would mess up your acronym, but for me there is one more essential; daily connection to the body of Christ, or community. In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrance’s to Kingdom expansion is the American tendency towards “Lone Ranger “ Christianity, or sovereign individualism.

    1. Addendum: Instead of daily connection, STAY connected to the community of faith, the Body of Christ. Now, the acronym becomes SEEDS.

  2. Encouragers Wanted

    A key to inner peace in troubling times is to look for people to encourage. (They shouldn’t be difficult to find.) Be a person who sincerely speaks “many words of encouragement” to people. When you face resistance refuse to be discouraged. Continue to cultivate a sense of caring heart-to-heart community with people. Help people experience, hold on to, and lavishly spread faith, hope, and love. Give encouragement and it will be given to you as rivers of living water flowing from your innermost being. 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *