What I Do Every Morning and You Should Too


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 as a holy and living sacrifice to you. 

Jesus, We belong to you. 

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

Romans 8:12–17 (NIV)

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


So here’s the $64,000 question; at least one of them. How does one do this:

if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

I used to think it was by all manner of what is called “mortification of the flesh.” This essentially means something like fasting on steroids or extreme self-denial or even self-punishment in Jesus’s name. I’ve tried some of that over the years, and I can truthfully say . . . for me . . . it never worked. I would feel a little bit better about feeling a little bit worse about myself but it did nothing to curb the deeper propensities of Sin. Interestingly, the text gives no such instructions that align with what I would say is a fallen human being’s distorted intuition on the subject. So again I ask, how does one do this:

if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

What if the answer is actually in the text immediately following?1 

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

For almost twenty years now, my day begins with a simple yet decisive act of immersive formation and participatory worship. (Usually when I’m in the shower.) I give an audible voice to the Holy Spirit’s cry from within my spirit, saying, “Abba, Father.” Next, I transport myself through the Spirit’s gift of remembrance to the ancient Jordan River and the scene of the baptism of Jesus.2 Now, I speak aloud the Word of God the Father over myself, saying the following:

“John David, you are my son—my beloved—and with you, I am well pleased.” 

In the words of one of my favorite songs in recent years, “This is how I fight my battles.” 

I begin the day with a performance evaluation before the job even begins, and it has nothing to do with my performance. It is based completely on my Holy Spirit gifted-by-inheritance identity anchored in the Son of God. I remember at the beginning of every day that all my sins, shortcomings, and failures have no bearing on who I most truly and deeply am. I remember at the beginning of every day that I am loved, deeply loved, and not just a little bit but extravagantly more than I can possibly even imagine or comprehend. And nothing shreds slavery like that. I remember I am no longer a slave to my image and its management, to what you or anyone else thinks of me for good or bad—because I no longer live from that false self-image—buried now in baptism with Jesus—but from my true and real self raised in resurrection life and love which is power with Jesus. 

From this place, sin is put to death because it’s already dead. And from this place life flows like the river of the Spirit into the day ahead. And the day really has one agenda: Stay in the river. Because as the prophet told us, “Everywhere the river flows it brings new life to dead places” (Ezekiel 47).

“John David, you are my son—my beloved—and with you, I am well pleased.” 

It’s where I put into the river every single morning. Will you join me?


Abba Father! Abba Father! Abba Father! Thank you for your son Jesus, and how your Spirit brings us into his life, causing our Spirit to cry out those deep words of belonging. Abba Father! Thank you that we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters, buried in baptism and raised to glorious resurrection life in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your adoring, life-changing, heart-transforming, sin-crushing, everything possible love for us . . . for me. I want to know you more and more until I know this more and more and then I will know everything I ever needed to know. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Try the morning routine—first say, “Abba Father.” Then speaking for God, say, “(Insert your name) you are my son/daughter—my beloved—and with you, I am well pleased.” Not once or twice, but would you give it a year? or Three years? It’s the kind of thing that happens very slowly, imperceptibly even, and then one day—all of a sudden—and you will never be the same. 


Today we will sing one of the great standard hymns, “Nothing but the Blood.” It is hymn 485 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Let’s sing it in a spirit of repentance. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

Notes for further study and reflection

  1. It’s strange—the more you try to fight a sin the more you empower the sin. It is the secret weapon of sin to distract us from the grace of Jesus by making us sin-centered. To defeat sin we must become grace-centered, which is to say Jesus centered, which is to say Holy Spirit-filled. Sin is not something that can be replaced with some other behavior. Sin must be displaced. Sin is displaced by the very presence of God. It takes us all the way back to our early conversation about focus and the notion that what or who gets our focus gets our life. The “mortification of the flesh” as so many well-meaning Christians have thought of and practiced it over the centuries is a trap. 
  2. The word is anamnesis. It is the Greek word behind the word “remembrance,” when Jesus lifts up the bread and cup and says, “Do this in remembrance of me” he is saying “anamnesis.” It is not remembrance as recall but remembrance as re-entering the ancient reality. It is as though the distance between the present and the past is bridged by eternity now here. The past is mysteriously and even mystically brought forward as though it were happening again. I see this same dynamic at play in the baptism of Jesus, which must become our baptism, over and over and over again. It is why we call these ancient scenes of history our sacraments. They mediate the very presence of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—through a way of remembrance transporting us into the ancient story; right here and right now.

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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

4 Responses

  1. I believe that each Christ follower must engage some form of daily spiritual discipline. We are all uniquely created, so what works for one may not be as effective for another. I personally begin each day very early before dawn with a time of prayer and meditation, just me in conversation with my Heavenly Father, with no distractions. After that it’s Seedbed’s now Wake-up Call. This has been my routine for at least the past nine years. After that, I visit a couple of other Christian blogs. This works for me. As for mortification of the flesh, that’s in my opinion, the work of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus said that we must daily pick up our cross and follow him, I don’t think he meant for us to go out and build our own crosses, but rather deal with the situations that come our way that are designed to form us in His image as we deal with them in faith. In my opinion, the biggest challenge for a believer who is committed to growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, is to spend way too much time looking inwardly instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Christ. This is why many believers fall off the narrow path into either the ditch of legalism on one side or the ditch of antinomianism on the other.

  2. One morning, years ago, my dog’s cold nose broke into my writing concentration. She wanted my attention. She got it. I responded in self-centered frustration with an aggravated, “Sydney!” Know what she did? She didn’t drop her head, nor did she leave sulking. She put her head on my lap. Immediately, I began rubbing and scratching behind her ears. She buried her head deeper into my lap.
    I think God would love it if we would slow down and lay our heads on His lap where He could love on us! To be in His presence before the day becomes about us. Because sometimes the devotions, Bible studies, tithe offerings, charity,
    giving, and churchgoing are more about us than Jesus.
    We are human beings, not human doings. Though we are to do, so others can see who we be, children of God, living from the presence of God.
    Psalm 46:10a
    “Be still, and know that I am God.

    Staying 💪’ n Christ
    Praying for you, Roddy!

  3. We have a song “By the pathway of duty, flows the river of Gods grace”. As tho splashes of refreshing as we trudge along were the deal. I can still hear my mom’s voice, “So get in the river”. Here’s Jordan Feliz “Down to the river”

  4. Christ “anamnesis” — Jesus right, here right now

    Rembrance of Jesus
    Is not just a memorial
    Of bread and wine
    That helps to recall
    What He did in the past.
    It’s the heart-moving awareness
    Of personally experiencing
    His living presence
    Working inside of you
    “To will and to do
    His good pleasure”
    Lest you forget about
    “Christ in you,
    The hope of glory”

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