For most of my spiritual walk I've struggled with seasons of inconsistent Bible reading. Sure, I'd browse the verse or prayer of the day and study diligently for teaching opportunities, but I'd say my habits were more feast or famine than a steady, nourishing diet of the Word.
Near the end of 2015, I read this encouragement from Pastor P. Derrick Seagraves and it was transformative.
How to make Bible reading an EVERYday thing:
1. Make Bible reading a part of your identity.
You've probably heard this phrase before, "I'm not that guy." In my world it would be, "I'm not that girl."
Pastor Seagraves went on with this reminder from the book of Joshua...
"Joshua made a decision: as for me and my house? We will serve the Lord. 'I'm that guy,' he said."
I'm that girl. I'm a Bible-reading follower of Christ who is connected to God through prayer and His Word.
I'm a Bible-reader. As soon as I proclaimed this as part of my identity, you know what I felt? First, strength. Moments later, fear. What if I fail again? What if this doesn't work? How can I quit seeing Bible reading as a 'have to, need to' and now see it as a part of the fabric of my life?
I ignored fear as best I could and took up my Horner Bible reading plan once more with renewed resolve. And you know what I found? There was very little in my life that had actual power to keep me from reading 10 chapters of the Bible every day. I could lay in bed and read it on my phone. I could read it at the park. I could listen to it in the car. I could read it with a mouse. I could read it in a house...
And 61 days later? 35 chapters shy of completion of the entire New Testament. Acts and Proverbs read through twice. Genesis, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, almost all of Isaiah and half of Psalms. All read. Two months. That's it.
Trust me when I say I'm not sharing this out of pride and self-made accomplishment. In fact, I'm scared someone may read this and call me out as a judgmental legalist.
I'm simply proclaiming out of my many shortcomings that if God can help me, He can help you!
Bible reading takes discipline and we should encourage one another in this race! We applaud discipline and all its successes in every other area of life - You lost weight! Yay! You graduated from college! Yay!
You read your Bible? Oh. You're one of thooooosssee people.
Yes! Be those people! Be that guy! Be that girl!
Reading your Bible more doesn't make your life easier or help you win friends and influence people. But it does equip you, sustain you and renew your mind.
You won't always feel like reading. Read anyway. Keep the habit chain going. You won't regret a single second. (And tell me you persevered so I can high-five you!)
Tips I learned in my journey:
- Read bigger chunks. Like 5-10 chapters a day. You'll see quick progress that will spur you on. (Keep a visual chart of what you've read. There's a great one HERE.)
- Don't miss a day of reading. This is who you are now. And, let's be serious. No one's too busy. Unless you're passing kidney stones, you can read 10 chapters every day.
- Have fun. Joke with your husband about the palm tree and coconuts in Song of Solomon. Tell your kids that ravens will pluck out their side-eye (Proverbs). And there's always the fan favorite where the teens get mauled by a bear for making fun of a bald guy (2 Kings). For reals.
- Gain a victory. While believers in other countries long to have a Bible of their own, we can measure dust like snowfall on the multiple versions and editions that languish inside our homes. Woe to us. Lord, have mercy.
- Start. Like, now. I think you could have read three chapters already. What are you waiting for? I'm high-fiving you!