What Makes a Good Day Good?
I wanted to share a few thoughts with you all based on a quote I read recently by Paul David Tripp. My husband and I have been reading through his book New Morning Mercies together as a couple. One of the day’s readings was about the qualities of real love, but there was one part in particular that especially made an impact on us. While talking about one of the qualities of love being humbleness, he wrote, “I still lack humility. I still tend to make life about my plan, my feelings, my desires, and my expectations. I am still tempted to assess the ‘good’ of a day by whether it pleased me versus whether I pleased God and was loving towards others.”
Although far from being the main point of the devotional reading for the day, this passage stood out to me. Or rather, stabbed a knife of conviction into my heart.
“How was your day?” Many of us get asked this question by loving spouses or parents nearly every day. And how do we most often evaluate the goodness or badness of our day? Here are some questions that typically go through my mind at lightning speed before I answer that question.
Did the day go smoothly? Did anything happen to upset or irritate me? Did the kids behave well? Do I feel like I accomplished something that day or was everything interrupted or undone by cranky children or neighbors dropping by? Did my day please me?
Later that night, Marcos and I pondered over this one line that had convicted us both so deeply and we came to realize that what we are really asking when we ask these questions is this:
Did I have to come face-to-face with my sin or the sin of others today and spend time recognizing it, repenting, and gospeling myself or others? No? Then it was a good day.
Did I have to lay down my desires and plans for that day and take on different ones because of the God-ordained “interruptions” in my day? No? Mark this one down as a great day.
Of course, when I rephrase the questions in this way it seems obvious that we have it totally backward. Days that please us typically allow little to no room for God to refine us and humble us or for us to practice the fruits of the Spirit.
So, what if we evaluated our days on the basis of whether we pleased God and were loving toward others?
The bad day where my children need several rounds of discipline for the exact same offense and nothing seems to work out the way I planned, might actually be a great day of opportunities for me to lead them through the story of sin and redemption. A good day in which nothing of much consequence happens and things go smoothly may actually be a terrible day in light of eternity. Days like this make up the seasons in which my spiritual life grows complacent.
It doesn’t always have to follow this pattern of course. We could have a peaceful, normal day in which we were also loving toward others and pleasing to God. But do we have eyes to see that that is what makes it good? The measure of a good day isn’t the difficulties or lack thereof, but our response to whether or not it was God-honoring.
I am praying in my own life that I would begin to change my mindset about what makes a good day “good.” And when someone you love asks you tonight how your day has been, I pray that the Spirit reminds you to run it through that divine rubric: was I pleasing to God and loving toward others?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. ~Matthew 22:37-40