Research shows that checking your smartphone first thing in the morning makes you more stressed out and overwhelmed, makes it more difficult for you to prioritize tasks, and makes you feel already behind in your day. Surveys find that most smartphone users are on their phones within 15 minutes of waking up– with the majority of them using their phones before getting out of bed.

What’s the problem with this? Everyday something other than Jesus will compete for your attention, focus, heart, and identity. Our smartphones present access to email, social media, our calendars, and the news. The Bible provides access to God’s encouragement, truth, instruction, strength, and wisdom. Think of these as two voices capable of speaking to your soul and setting the direction of your day.

When we begin with God’s voice, we can place ourselves under the gentle yoke of Jesus. When we begin with email, social media, and new feeds, we welcome other voices to master our day.

Regular Bible reading is the keystone habit that correlates with spiritual maturity. Research on Christian growth shows that, “reading your Bible positively affects your ability to consistently obey God and deny self, serve God and others, share Christ, exercise your faith, seek God, build relationships, and be unashamed about your faith” (Daniel Im, No Silver Bullets)!

Commit yourself to begin your day by allowing God’s Word to direct your heart, identity, and focus for the day. In practice, I’ve found that it is helpful to have a daily Bible reading plan that I am working through. This gives me an approach that doesn’t require me to make a choice in the morning as to what I will read. I’m simply picking up with whatever is next in the plan.

If your reading plan is on an app on your phone, this presents a unique challenge to keep the Bible before phone, however. Consider reading from a printed Bible instead. If you’re going to read from a device, try to have a separate device that doesn’t receive notifications that will tempt you to check an email, the news, or Facebook first.

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