Monday, January 09, 2012

On reading the Bible...

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
   that I might not sin against you.

Today I finished a New Year's resolution from last year. 

The month of December was hard on me reading-wise.  I got behind (partly due to procrastination) in my seminary class and had to spend extra time finishing up the reading.  Once I got it done, I really didn't feel like reading.  So it took me a few extra days to finish my 2011 New Year's resolution to read through the entire Bible again last year. 

But I finished it. 

As a follower of Christ, I think that it's vital that we spend some time in God's word every day.  Personally, as a believer, I think it's important for me to read through the entire Bible every year.  Why?

Several reasons...
First, there are parts that I would skip if I didn't have a plan that expected me to read through the difficult parts.  Just like with my running, I don't usually like hill sprints or speed workouts, but they make me better.  As a Christian, there are parts of the Bible that are hard (either just hard to read: i.e. Leviticus... or hard for me to stomach because of my own walk).  But reading through the entire Bible forces me to read these parts along with the parts that I want. 

Second, I've got issues in my life that need to be dealt with.  When I read God's Word, often the Holy Spirit smacks me in the face with something that needs some work.  If I don't have time in God's Word, I'm less likely to get smacked.  But I'm also less likely to grow (see first point).

Third, reading God's Word every year reminds me of what God has done in the past and is continuing to do in the present.  It's easy for me to get focused on me.  God's Word reminds me that God's story is bigger than me.  It's broader than me.  It includes more people than just me and my church family in my little corner of the world. 

Fourth, reading God's Word every year reminds me of what God has done for all of us: salvation through the sacrifice of the cross.  Without the difficult books like Exodus and Leviticus, we really don't understand all the complexities of the cross and Jesus' perfect sacrifice on it.  I need those parts to explain other parts.  It all ties together... therefore, all of it has to be read. 

Unfortunately, many Christians don't see the need or have the desire to feast on God's Word.  Honestly, this is sad I believe that it breaks God's heart.  Over 1,500 years through 40 different authors on multiple continents God worked to make sure that His word was recorded so we would know how to live.  Since then, the Church has worked tirelessly to make sure that God's Word was preserved through church history and multiple church leaders (i.e.: Luther) fought and in some cases sacrificed their lives in order to have it translated into our language so we can feast on it regularly.  Yet many of our houses sit with Bibles lined on the shelves that never move... let alone get read. 

Come on Church! Let's get with the program. 

We (all of us...) need to commit to spending time regularly in God's Word.  You don't have to read through the entire Bible in a year like I do... there's nothing special/magical/amazing about that.  For me, it's a good time marker and creates a goal (I like goals... they keep me moving forward).  If it takes you a year, 3 years or 5 years... doesn't really matter.  What matters is that you are hiding God's Word in your heart.  You're getting God's perspective on life.

And I firmly believe that we are failing as Christians and our churches are struggling and we are losing the battle against the enemy because of our own laziness... because we aren't spending time in God's Word on a regular basis. 

We should all resolve to spend 5 or 10 or 20 minutes in God's Word every day

Looking for a place to get started? There are over 130 Bible reading plans on YouVersion for you to choose from.  There are reading plans that go for a month... 6 months... a whole year.  You can read through the whole Bible (in different orders), read through the New Testament a couple of times along with other books... there is lots of variety.  Look through them, pick one and get started!

Come on Church... Let's step up and get it done!


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