No one sets out to not read their Bible. I’m sure you didn’t open your eyes this morning and think, “You know what? I know I committed to trying to read my Bible every day. It’s January first. Nah – I think I’ll just skip today.” When it comes to Bible reading, we all have good intentions. But there are a few ladies out there who are set up to fail from the beginning.
Rudy is a typical girl. She goes to school and plays a sport or two. She really likes hanging out with her friends and spends a lot of time texting and liking things on Facebook. Her room is kind of clean, she does the dishes after dinner, and has certain times when everyone knows they better not disturb her because her favorite show is on.
So when does she read her Bible? She always plans on doing it when she gets around to it. Once everything is done. Once the house is quiet and she can really concentrate because there isn’t anything else to do. She doesn’t want to set a quiet time because, well, she had too much to do.
Hate to break it to you, Rudy, but you’ll never read your Bible regularly if it’s at the bottom of your priority list.
Nelly actually has a set time that she plans on reading her Bible every day. She’s got it sitting right on her night stand. Her plan is that, when the day is done, she’ll pull on her jammies, slip under the covers, turn on a little lamp, and end her day basking in the Word of God.
How long until Nelly falls asleep? I give her two minutes, tops.
I am a huge advocate of reading your Bible in the morning. There’s just something amazing about starting your day off with Scripture. But I’ve also know people who genuinely enjoy reading in the evening – and they are committed to it. But never ever have I met a Nighty-Night Nelly who can climb into bed after a long day and regularly read and engage in the Bible. Beds are way too comfortable for that!
Denise sees her friends Rudy and Nelly and knows she doesn’t want to fall into their same traps. So she plans on reading her Bible right when she gets home from school. So she does. In her living room. With the TV on. And the computer open. And her phone sitting face up beside her.
Denise gets about two sentences in before she’s distracted.
There’s a reason we call it quiet time. Godliness and wisdom aren’t something we just absorb. We don’t grow closer to Jesus through osmosis. We have to sit down and…wait for it…concentrate! We have to focus. We have to turn off the world and turn on our brains and hearts. That can’t happen when everything around us is so noisy, it draws us away from God.
Polly not only knows she should read her Bible every day, she genuinely wants to. So she sets out to do it perfectly. She has forty minutes carved out each day. She has a study Bible, her journal, her journaling pen, her highlighter, and a cup for coffee. She has a devotional that’s at the top of the Christian best seller list. She is ready to go…
Until a day goes not so perfectly. And she suddenly has twenty minutes instead of forty. Suddenly, Perfect Polly is Panic Polly. How can she have her quiet time when her routine is messed up?
It’s easy to become religious with our Bible reading – to fall into a pattern of doing it the same way every time. The problem with that is, when life throws us a curve ball, we refuse to be flexible. And curve balls do come. The Pollys of the world get discouraged and give up when things suddenly don’t go their way.
Ellen has committed to reading the Bible in a year. She even starts the year off great, reading every day for two weeks straight. Then comes a weekend where she’s hanging with her BFF the whole time. And she forgets to read. “But that’s okay,” she says, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
But tomorrow is Sunday. She helps out in Sunday school and goes to youth group that night, finishing homework in between. Again, her Bible gets neglected. “But I spent most of the day doing church stuff, so that counts.”
“I spent the day praying as I went along, so that counts.”
“I’m only reading to say that I read, so I need to take a break and get excited about reading the Bible again.”
“Oh, I’m not reading anywhere in particular. Just kind of skipping around.”
Ellen – get over yourself. Not only are you not reading your Bible, you refuse to be humble enough to admit it. So you make yourself feel better and try to make yourself look better by layering on excuses.
The Bottom Line
Nobody is perfect. We’re all going to struggle to be consistent in Bible reading. But that doesn’t mean we should be okay with that. Want some tips to help you succeed?
-Set a time to read. Treat it like an appointment that you can’t miss.
-Have someone keep you accountable.
-Talk with friends about what you are reading.
-Have a Bible translation that makes sense to you.
-Journal – even if it is simply a verse that you read and liked and why you like it.
-When you fall off the Bible train, hop back on. Don’t fall into the habit of not reading.
Question: What are your weaknesses when it comes to reading the Bible every day? Have you told someone so they can keep you accountable? What methods have you found help you stay in the Word of God? What are your goals for staying committed to reading the Bible this year?