Francis de Sales: (Not) An Ordinary Life, Part 1

candle-2807288_960_720First published in 1609, Francis de Sales’ book, Introduction to the Devout Life, is considered a spiritual classic by both Protestants and Catholics. De Sales wrote to give spiritual instruction to the common folk, encouraging them to aspire to a deeply personal and meaningful relationship with God.  “My purpose is to instruct those who…are obliged to live an ordinary life as to outward appearances.”[1] “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to wish to banish the devout life from the regiment of soldiers, the mechanic’s shop, the court of princes, or the home of married people. … Wherever we may be, we can and should aspire to the perfect life.”[2]

I don’t know about you, but my life looks pretty ordinary most days. And I’m nowhere near perfect. But de Sales’ point was that every follower of Jesus Christ, no matter the outward circumstances of his life, should desire and cultivate an inner, secret relationship with God; a relationship that Thomas R. Kelley describes as “an inner world of splendor.” ¹

Spending time in God’s presence every day is key to developing a relationship with Him. De Sales gives us four suggestions for “Finding God in the Morning”:

We’ll look at the first one today:

Adore God most profoundly and return Him thanks for having preserved you from the dangers of the night; and if during the course of it you have committed any sin, implore His pardon.²

1.  Adore God.

How do we adore God? We spend time thinking about Who He is…not only what He has done. We acknowledge Him as Creator. Savior. Comforter. Friend. Deliverer. Healer. The Word. The Eternal One. Immutable. Always present. Sovereign. Love.

2. Confess Sin.

We thank Him for His loving protection over us during the night, and we take stock of our own heart. Do we have a clean conscience before God? If not, confession and repentance are vital to living an un-ordinary, devout life because the Bible clearly states that God will not hear our prayers if we have been holding on to unconfessed sin in our lives (Psalm 66:16-20).

Next time, we’ll look at the second suggestion of how to find God in the morning.


¹Kelly, Thomas R. A Testament of Devotion. Harper and Brothers, 1941.

²De Sales, Francis. A Devout Life. Public Domain.

Listen to selections from “A Devout Life.”

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