Symbols On Your Hands

In my previous Voice of Grace (9/5/2019), I shared about my lack of discipline in waking up early to go to the gym, looking for any excuse to skip out even though I knew the benefits of having that early morning workout. When COVID-19 shut down the country—including gyms—I acknowledged that I would need even more discipline to develop the habit of exercising at home. Before, I knew that if I could get myself out of bed and make my way to the gym, then the workout was guaranteed because there was nothing else to do once I got there. But now I was home all day, where there were countless options to distract me from exercising.
By God’s grace, I stumbled upon a method that helped me exercise at home more regularly. I owned a set of dumbbells and had purchased a workout bench. Rather than setting up a workout area in my basement, I decided to put the bench and dumbbells in the same room where I work. Each morning when I stumbled out of bed to start the workday, I would see the bench and weights and be reminded that I needed to stay in shape. Every time I walked out of the room, I would be reminded again by the sight of the gym equipment. The constant reminders eventually resulted in me exercising more regularly than I had for years!
I soon recognized that I needed to start applying this lesson to improve my spiritual disciplines as well. My Bible app now resides in one of the 4 coveted slots on the bottom bar of my iPhone, ceaselessly prodding me to spend more time in the Word. A reminder to pray for my boss, team members, and other colleagues sit at the very top of my work to-do list. Pinned to the top of my Notes app? An expanding list of Bible memory verses. Christian books and Life Group materials were no longer neatly stored in a bookshelf hidden away but were now in plain sight. The benefit of these minor adjustments was evident in the greater richness of my personal worship and my increased time devoted to prayer.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Shema) says this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
I realized that these small changes I had made were my version of tying God’s teaching as symbols on my hands. The everyday reminders of God were leading me to love Him more. I’m still looking for more simple ways to bind God’s Word to my forehead, and I hope you’ll be encouraged to also start figuratively (or literally, if that’s how you roll) etching God’s Word on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates!

Jeffrey Wan is a deacon at GRC. He and his wife, Joyce, recently purchased a stationary bike and can see it every time they look for food in the kitchen or watch TV in the living room.