Reading the Bible consistently can be incredibly challenging. The black words on the white, crinkly pages can seem distant, irrelevant, and confusing.
Look at these revealing statistics (sited from Lifeway.com):
80% of churchgoers don’t read their Bible daily
14% read maybe once a week
As this year is coming to a close, how consistent were you in reading the Bible? Were you a part of the 80%? Would you like a difference experience in 2017? Me, too.
Here are a few things I’m beginning to work through myself. I hope they help you, too…
1. Stop fooling yourself. Set aside your excuses.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you know that reading the Bible is an important part of growing in your relationship with God. Then, why don’t we do it? Here are a few excuses that clamor around in me. Maybe for you, too:
I want to sleep a bit longer.
The Bible doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t have time.
I don’t see why I need to.
I don’t know where to start.
It doesn’t really matter if I read it or not.
I don’t think it can help me.
2. Remember WHO’S Word it is.
If you truly believed and remembered that
the God of the universe,
the Creator of everything,
the One who sent His Son to save your soul,
HE IS THE ONE who wants to engage with you every single day.
HE IS THE ONE who desires to teach you who He is and the truth about who you are.
HE IS THE ONE who longs to empower you for the best life.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8, NIV
It’s true…God loves you completely, perfectly, absolutely, and unconditionally. Because of His love, He acts in love towards you.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 2-5, NIV
3. Choose God over you.
You may have become very self-centered. Let’s face it: it’s so easy to do.
You choose comfort over obedience.
You choose worry over trust.
You choose bitterness over grace.
You choose Facebook over prayer.
You choose sports over church.
You choose Pinterest over His Word.
But, God is very clear.
Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37, NIV
4. Grab hold of the Bible as if it can actually change you.
The Bible is like no other book. It is the very Word of God. And, when you open it up and allow your eyes to gather up the words to hold in your heart, God comes with them. He moves in them and changes you from the inside out.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12, NIV
If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try.
So now what?
– Set an achievable long-term goal (like a month), but start with today!
Just do TODAY. Don’t worry about the entire month. By taking one day at a time, before you know it, you will have done 30 days!
– Ask someone to hold you accountable.
It may be your spouse or friend or mom or neighbor. But, ask them to check in with you each week to see if you’ve been reading daily.
– Schedule a time and a place.
You may need to get up 15-20 minutes earlier. Or, you may need to not turn on Netflix when the kids go to bed. Open up God’s Word before you grab the remote. Choose a place you can go free of distractions (or as free as can be in your house)!
– Pre-plan what you will read.
I usually recommend starting with one of these two books: John or Psalms. They are easy to read and flow very well. Or, there are other reading plans that lay it all out for you. For more starts and tips, click here.
– Stay within your scheduled time.
Set an alarm for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. When the time is over, leave it. Don’t belabor. Don’t drag out. Don’t worry about reading one more verse. God understands.
And surely, day-by-day, month-by-month, you will become a consistent Bible-reader. And more than that, you will experience God like you never have before!