Happy new year!!! Can you even believe it is January 1 already? Or, even crazier, we are now living in the 20’s! I feel like we should all be putting on our flapper dresses to celebrate. lol
I know many people set resolutions when a new year rolls around. Lose weight. Eat better. Be on the phone less. Work out more. Don’t binge watch Netflix. Improve grades. Work for the promotion.
All of these goals have some value, but will they matter in 1,000 years?
Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
I don’t know about you, but I am often pretty terrible at keeping my resolutions. So, if we are going to do one, maybe we should make a commitment that really matters.
One that really does matter is being in our Bibles. I have failed MANY Bible reading plans over the years. I would feel so excited in the beginning and then my legalistic background used to cringe every time I didn’t read where I was supposed to for the day. I remember sadly throwing a plan away in such defeat because of all those unmarked boxes! I felt like a failure. Anyone else experienced something similar?
The last few years the Holy Spirit keeps showing me that being disciplined to daily Bible reading has very little to do with our Christian duty and has nothing to do with our standing with God. I don’t read so He will love me more or so God will think more of me. Those things are unchanging because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. Because I am hidden in the perfect, sinless Jesus, God can be close to me. He chose me even while I was a sinner (Romans 5:8).
I read my Bible because I want to love Him more. Can you really love someone you don’t even know? The more that I read the Bible the more I know the unchanging character of God (Hebrews 6:17-20). The more I read, the more I know I can trust Him and live my life in joyful obedience to Him.
Being immersed in your Bible does so much more than equip you with knowledge; it weaves Truth in your spirit. When hard times come, we can either waver and be tossed to and fro, OR we can stand firm in Truth (Ephesians 4:14).
Ask yourself, “Do I know enough scripture to call to mind when circumstances are grim? Do I truly know Him?” The best news is that He wants you to know Him. He provides the faith in Him, and He provides the understanding of His word.
So, how do we put that into action?
We have to get back to the mindset that we don’t read our Bibles to be accepted by God. There is nothing on this planet that would ever make me worthy of His love. And yet, He keeps loving me. THAT is what motivates me to read my Bible – to know Him. I want to know my Creator, protector, provider, Savior, and King.
My best suggestion is to read with other people. The last two years I read through the Bible with a small group of women. You could ask a group of friends, your spouse, or roommate if they want to join you in reading. It is not just about accountability! Telling someone else what God is doing in you as you read and talking about His awesomeness increases everyone’s faith and makes reading the Bible more about Him, not us.
I don’t know how to explain it except that it has been a life-changing experience for me. It hasn’t been anything fancy. We meet after church every other week and discuss what we read (completing the Bible in a year). And, the Holy Spirit has showed up! I love Him more. I know His commands and am able to obey them more regularly. Since I have been reading it AND regularly talking about it, Scripture is now embedded in my thoughts and prayers. I can’t wait to start back in Genesis this week with a new group of women because meeting together is not just something else on my busy schedule, it fills me with joy and draws me closer to my Father.
I would also recommend purchasing a study bible. If you have historically struggled with the Old Testament, I highly recommend the Gospel Transformation Bible. The study notes point everything back to Jesus.
You could also try a different reading plan. I really love the Read Scripture app because there are videos that go along with it that are so helpful in understanding those harder sections.
And, of course, pray. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding as we read!
Feast on the word. Talk about the word. Stand firm in the word. Fall more in love with Jesus this year. Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Trust your perfect Father.
I will end on the great Truth that this is what He wants for us. He just loves so much to be near His people. Throw resolutions, failures, and legalism to the side and let them be replaced with Truth: God delights in His people. Let’s make 2020 be the year we go from knowing God with our mind, to loving Him with all our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).