I feel like this one is pretty common: It’s January and you’ve been meaning to spend daily time in prayer, Bible reading/studying, and silence, but there just never seems to be enough time. January is a new start and *this year* you’re going to do better. This is it.
How do we do this so it sticks?
How do we do this when the newness wears off?
How do we do this when we’re tired?
How do we do this when there is already no time in the day?
How do we do this when it kinda seems boring?
The easy and hard answer is you just do it. Obedience is never easy, that’s the point. Good intentions only get us so far and wanting to know the Bible and God intimately versus actually knowing the Bible and God intimately are two very different things.
We bridge the gap between want and know by digging into His Word every day whether we have excuses or not.
We are all busy.
We are all lacking sleep.
We are all snuggled into warm beds in the middle of winter and outside those covers is the Arctic and we will not survive if we get up, but we do it anyway.
We all think some parts are boring.
We are all distracted by our phones and social media and text messages about Schitt’s Creek.
But we just do it anyway.
I’m not telling you when to read your Bible. I do it first thing in the morning, because I’ve tried other ways and I will end up not doing it if I don’t do it first thing in the morning. I’ve pretended I will, but I won’t.
Maybe you can take your lunch break and do your Bible reading and journaling and praying. Cool, do it.
Maybe you’re awake enough when you crawl into bed at night to take out your devotional and your Bible and your pen and spend time in prayer without immediately falling asleep. Cool, do it.
I don’t have a step-by-step guide for you to do this, I’m just telling you to figure out how to make it happen and then stick with it. Do it when God seems quiet. Do it when you read a verse or a chapter or a whole book and you have NO IDEA what is happening. Do it when you’re mad or when you’re really happy. Some days will feel holy and electric and other days will feel awkward and forced. God is in all of it, so you just keep showing up. He wants your obedience and He wants your heart and He gets both of those things when you listen and read and pray and act. You can’t get all of God by picking and choosing what’s most convenient or what sounds best for you.
Jackie Hill Perry says, “Since God is holy and utterly good by nature, even His harshest commands are worth your obedience. Or to say it another way, if God is as good as He says He is, then every single command is good FOR you even if it doesn’t feel good to you.” (source)
I think about that when I’m turning the other cheek, tithing, and forgiving when I really want to hold a grudge. I think about it when I get up early to start my day with Jesus even though I have writing to do, laundry to fold, and other things to read.
I don’t think knowing God’s Word is His harshest commandment by any means, but if I can’t be obedient and faithful in the seemingly easy things He asks of me, there is no way I can be obedient when bigger things come, when harder, more challenging things come. Reading our Bibles, spending time in prayer, studying God’s Word isn’t just to know our facts better or to have a great verse to respond with when we’re arguing with someone, it’s to change our hearts to be more like Jesus’. It’s to move ourselves from selfish to selfless. We can’t do that on our own.
I know I can’t convince you to do something you don’t want to do. I can write some powerful words, but that is not how this works. It’s all on you. But I can tell you that in January 2015 when I finally decided to stop wanting to read God’s Word and actually doing it, He changed my life. He began building strength in me I didn’t know I would one day need. He started teaching me how to be obedient with little things so when the big things came, I could choose wisely. He helped establish a routine for my days that–when everything fell apart–I still had without thinking about it. He was answering questions I didn’t yet know to ask and soothing pains I didn’t yet know were aching.
This is not hard.
Your excuses don’t hold up here.
This doesn’t cost money.
It won’t hurt you.
There is only good to come from this. He is only good. He has work He wants to do in you. He has stories He wants to share with you. He has joy He wants to bring you. And all you have to do is open your Bible.
If you only do one new thing in 2019, read your Bible. Read it every day. Just try it for one year and see what happens.
You don’t have to spend a dime reading your Bible, you can find tons of free reading plans online or on free apps for your phone or just open it! But if you are in the market for a new study to buy, I’ve loved these:
The Message: Solo, an Uncommon Devotional
This is what started everything for me; I love it dearly and plan to go through it again.)
The Daily Bible: NIV
This Bible-in-a-year study challenged me endlessly, but I wouldn’t start with it. Keep it in your back pocket for when you’ve established a good routine. This one will kick your butt.)
Open Your Bible: God’s Word is For You and For Now
I got this went it was first published and couldn’t get into it; I was only half-heartedly trying to establish a routine and it was completely me and not the study. I came back to it last year and loved it. It’s set up for a group study, but I did it on my own and enjoyed it.)
Write the Word journals
A friend sent me the Cultivate Renewal last year and I really enjoyed it. It gives you verses to read and write, then a page to journal your prayers. This might be a good routine starter because it’s structured, but gives you freedom within some boundaries as well.
I’ve written about my daily Bible reading before:
–Go here to read a series I wrote about the ways Jesus ruined my life after spending a year in the Bible.
–This is a post about what our mornings look like.
-I tried to incorporate gratitude journaling into my routine and failed miserably.
-I’m currently in a read-and-sit-and-think-quietly phase of my quiet time, but other times I’m all about journaling. Here’s a post on 19 ways I’ve journaled through my quiet time.
-Remember: reading the Bible is dangerous.
-If you do need a little more direction on how to start spending time in the Bible or establishing a routine, I wrote this post in 2015 about my morning routine.
-When I started reading the Bible in 2015, I committed to 60 days. That’s all. Here’s how it went.
*DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links used.
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