I hear it all the time. I hear people asking for help in this area all the time. It’s one of the most commonly recognized areas we actually know and acknowledge that we lack in. We just don’t read the Bible as much as we know we should.
Maybe from one Sunday to the next you don’t even know where your Bible is. Maybe on Monday you start out by reading the word and it’s all downhills from there. Maybe you just don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t know how much to read. Or where to read. Or when to read. Or what to read. Maybe you’re just lazy. Maybe you just don’t have enough time (or think you don’t). That can and should change. The goal of this post is not to make you feel guilty for the sake of feeling guilty, or to place a burden on you without lifting a finger to help remove it, but that you would be motivated and disciplined to hear from God in His Word daily.
I love what Don Carson writes:
Suppose even one-tenth of contemporary nominal evangelicals pored over the pages of Scripture to establish what their lifestyles should be like, and with balance, determination, meekness and courage, found grace to live accordingly.
What transformation would be effect in our world!
What transformation would be effect in your life? What transformation would be effect in our local church? There won’t be any, lest we hear from God.
It all comes down to priority. Maybe the reason we seldom crack the pages of Scripture is because we don’t think we actually need to hear from God. But we must ask ourselves this: how many days do we wage war against our sinful nature? How many days is our enemy seeking to destroy us? How many days are we exposed to the empty, deceitful philosophies of the world system opposed to God?
The answer to all of those questions is obvious: every day! So how often do we need to hear from God? Every day! On the same token, how many days will you go without eating and drinking? Have you ever gone a day without eating and drinking (for non-medical reasons)? Then why do we suffer our souls to starve and thirst by not hearing from God daily in His Word? How much harm do we willingly permit to come our way by not hearing His voice?
Thankfully, correcting this in our own lives is not rocket science. I think we wish it was, but it’s not. It’s very, very simple and begins with only a few practical steps:
1. Discipline yourself to find the time. That may mean cutting something out to put something in. Try making it the same time every day. Read Scripture at a time when you normally eat. As you nourish your body every day, nourish your soul at the same time. Don’t make a habit of reading right before bed. You won’t remember it in the morning and it’s not much help to you through the day if you don’t hear God’s voice until the day is finished.
2. Find a good Bible reading plan. Stick to it. If you miss a day, don’t throw it out the window, just pick up where you left off. A perfect record isn’t the goal. The goal isn’t even to get through the Scriptures. The goal is to get the Scriptures through you. You can review a number of different plans here. If you are a smart phone user, you may find this helpful.
3. Mediate on something you’ve read each day. Think it over. Pray through it. Ponder it. Reflect on it. Turn it about in your mind. That way it will stay with you.
4. Don’t give up too quickly. If it’s been a long time since you regularly practiced the discipline of daily Bible reading you will be exercising spiritual muscles that haven’t had a workout in a long time. Just like physical exercise hurts more the longer we go without doing it, we may have to push through the laziness of our flesh to keep this up. That’s why the first practical step has the word “discipline” in it! Eventually your desire to be daily in the Word will replace the duty of being daily in the Word. And even on the days when desire is low, duty will keep you going.
5. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you follow through on the commitment to read the word.
6. Ask someone (friend, parent, husband, wife, brother, sister) to check in with you to keep you accountable, but make this the last resort, not the first!
7. Keep your eyes on the prize (see Part II)
8. Don’t waste another day to build this into your life. If you think you can put this off any longer you’re farther down the path of drowning out God’s voice than you think.
Feel free to post any other helpful suggestions you’ve discovered along the way. There’s more to come on the intake of Scripture but that’s a good start for now!