We should always hold fast to the fear of God. It is the root of all spiritual knowledge and all right action. When the fear of God rules in the soul everything goes well both within and without. Try to kindle this sense of fear in your heart every morning before you do anything else. Then it will go on working by itself as a kind of pendulum.Theophan the Recluse, “The Fruits of Prayer” in The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology
Sounds good, Theophan. But what would this look like?
- Consider the first thing you do each day. Where do you walk as soon as you are out of bed? What is the first action you take? Do you pick up your phone? Check your iPad? Turn on a computer? Brush your teeth? Start the coffee maker?
- Put a sign in the place you go first or on top of the first item you look upon or pick up saying, “First, God.”
- Think about God. Don’t ask God for anything. Don’t lay out your agenda for the day. Think about God. Then keep your thoughts there. If your thoughts try to lead you elsewhere, let those thoughts run on their merry way and bring yourself back to God and thoughts of God. Tell those other thoughts, “I’m staying right here.”
- If it helps you to remain with the thought of God, create a list for reference. Write down what you know to be true of God. This could be: good, just, merciful, kind, long-suffering, patience, steadfast, wise, joyful, righteous, concerned for widows and orphans, excellent, praiseworthy, holy, Redeemer, Savior, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, counselor, advocate, friend, etc. No need to read the entire list each day. Dwell on one, or two, or three. Whatever you choose, think about how that thought represents the person of God.
- After a few moments or minutes of thinking about who God is, say to yourself, “If God is really like this, and if I live in relationship to this God, and if this is a person I desire to honor, how will I live today?”
- Carry that answer with you. Keep God before you. Seek God in all you do.
That might generate a few sparks.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When we keep God before us, as God truly is, much good follows.