By Joe Wilkie
If you’re like me, consistency is a struggle. This is especially seen in my Bible reading. I always enjoy reading and studying God’s Word and it brings me closer to the Almighty, yet I find myself struggling to do it on a regular basis. I don’t believe I’m alone in work, family, and other activities getting in my way of consistent Bible reading. We know that as Christians we need to read our Bibles more, but as people in the always-busy 21st century, we can fail at fitting it into our busy schedules. What should we do? How can we make reading God’s Word not just a dutiful habit, but a cherished part of every day? Consider these five brief and hopefully helpful tips.
First, make it a priority. I know this sounds super basic, but we essentially do what we want to do. While I struggle to read my Bible, I don’t seem to struggle getting through season after season of my Netflix show, or checking Facebook, or playing games on my phone. I often sleep as late as I possibly can before getting up and rushing around in order to get to work on time. My priorities are more sleep, more fun, more social media presence – not more Bible reading. For this new year, think about what you prioritize in your life. Is there anything that can be cut back or cut out completely to make time for 10-15 minutes of Bible reading a day?
Second, make a plan. By this, I mean a few different things. Make a reading plan and know what you are going to read every day. I suggest starting at either the beginning of the Old or New Testaments or choosing a chronological reading plan, though it’s up to you. Also, make a plan by knowing what time you are going to do it each day and where. When I tell myself I’ll read it “when I have time,” I find myself running out of time. But if I make a daily plan to read it over my cereal before I get ready for work or when I’m lying in bed before I turn my light off then I’m much more likely to stick with it.
Third, get accountable. If you find yourself starting your reading plan only to fail again and again, it can help to get accountable or to have a reading partner. The church is an institution like no other with people all over the world striving for heaven the same as you and me. Whether it be someone at your church or halfway across the world through social media, I’d encourage you to get someone to hold you accountable on a regular basis or to read with you. When someone is there to help you, encourage you, and even hold your feet to the fire at times, it can make a big difference.
Fourth, reward yourself. Of course, just getting to read our Bibles and growing closer to God is a reward unto itself. However, it can help to reward yourself with a treat from your local bakery, a new Bible, or a gift card somewhere. Each Summer, libraries do a reading plan that rewards kids for the number of pages they read over the 3 months between school. And each Summer, millions of kids read more than they do the entire rest of the year. It’s helpful to have some extra motivation and incentives, especially to start. The more you read, the more you’ll find that being in God’s Word is the true reward.
Fifth and finally, pray for God to give you a deeper love for His Word. I believe in the power of prayer and I have no doubt God will answer this prayer for you as He has for me on many occasions. Sometimes we just don’t feel like reading our Bibles because there doesn’t seem to be as strong of a connection to God as usual, but that’s when we need to get on our knees. Prayer can have a profound effect and change the way we view our Bible reading. It shouldn’t just be another thing we do in our day, it should be the best part of our day when we get the opportunity to grow closer to God.
We’ve been blessed by God with another new year. Let’s make 2018 the best spiritual growth year of our lives by establishing consistent Bible reading and a deeper love for the Word of God.
This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Think magazine. To subscribe, click here.