For the next few weeks, I want to get practical, and help you build strong habits in three areas:
- Develop a Bible Reading Habit (this week)
- Develop a Prayer and Journaling Habit (next week)
- Develop a Generosity Habit (last week)
Habits are powerful. They guide us when we lose our way or become lazy. They help bring clarity in the midst of chaos, and they help us develop discipline.
When athletes train, they develop rituals to help them focus. The same is true in our spiritual lives. When we develop good spiritual disciplines, we provide a vessel for the Lord to work in our lives.
However, as with any new training regime or new habit we are creating, it takes time for it to develop, and we must stick with it. I’m not going to say it’s easy, because it’s not. Developing habits is tough, but through consistency, and practice we can build it into the framework of our everyday life.
This is what I want to help you do. This week, let’s take a look at developing a bible reading habit.
Where to Start
Creating a habit of Bible reading doesn’t happen overnight, but with perseverance, you can build it into the framework of your everyday life.
If you are just starting out engaging with scripture, either because you are curious or you are a new believer or you’ve stepped away for a while, I recommend one of these two approaches.
- Topical – choose a topic and then find a devotional to support that topic. For example, if you wanted to study what the Bible has to say about “worry”, you could find devotionals over on YouVersion.com to help you.
- Book of the Bible – another way is to go through a book study and explore what scripture directly says. For example, if you wanted to explore “Ephesians” you could find some study materials on Amazon or at YouVersion.com to help you.
Whichever route you take, it’s more about starting and continuing, and the journey can include a destination such as finishing a book study or the topic. However, developing a daily ritual to engage with scripture is about developing the discipline of being in God’s Word and letting it speak to your heart.
How Much Time Will This Take
Devotions can be as much time or as little time as you put into it. Seasons of life dictate our time as we build new habits. Retirees probably have more time than busy moms or dads, but you get out of it what you put into it, just like with any habit you are building.
If you want to lose weight, you have to do some exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep. If you want to learn a new language, you have to spend time practicing it, otherwise, you won’t learn it.
Developing a Bible reading habit is the same. Spending time each day in God’s Word allows you to hear His voice especially in your busy seasons.
You be the judge of what your schedule will allow, and what you want to put into it.
Starting a new habit is tough, and sometimes you need a partner to walk with you. Join forces with your friends and start a group on YouVersion.com to hold you accountable.
Ask your spouse or significant other to hold you accountable. In fact, one of the best ways to engage with scripture is to do it with your partner. Invite them into the habit-building experience with you.
Pick a plan and walk through it together. Don’t worry about getting all the steps right, and if you miss a day here and there, it’s okay…just jump back on the horse and get back to it. Lightning will not strike you down if you miss a day of Bible reading, I assure you.
As you share in this experience with your spouse or partner, you grow closer together with the Lord as well as with each other. Once again, start small and build the habit. Ask your partner what God taught them today, and then you can pray together.
How To Engage with Scripture
For me, I engage scripture in two ways:
- Reading it with an actual Bible or on one of my devices
- Listening to a plan
Each day on my way to work or as I get ready in the morning, I listen to my daily scripture. I have found that this sets up day wonderfully. I am more prepared for the challenges that I will face when I have prepared my heart.
Sometimes, God uses a particular scripture in the morning to apply it to a situation at work or lets me digest it all day long as I work through something.
Scripture comes alive, and the stories of the Old Testament hit us in new ways, and the power of the New Testament meets us in the deep corners of our hearts when we least expect it.
Read Through the Bible in a Year
If you are looking for a cool experience, I suggest reading through the Bible in a year. For the past five years or so, I have been consistently reading through the Bible in a year.
My mom and her friends have been reading through the Bible every year for the past 45 years or so. The foundation of scripture in her heart allows her to minister to people, and support them as God leads her.
Reading through scripture together as husband and wife is powerful. I know my parents read through a different plan each year, and it draws their hearts closer to God while building their relationship.
There are a number of great Bible reading plans for the year if that’s what you like.
Here’s a sample:
- Bible in One Year 2022 by Nicky Gumbel – this includes a daily devotion along with the scripture passages – it is a great way to engage with scripture, and Nicky reads it to you.
- The Fresh Start Bible Reading Plan by Gateway Church – a simple, year-long plan with scripture that you can listen to or read
- Chronological Plan – you can read or listen through the Bible chronologically
I want to encourage you to start a Bible reading habit this year. Remember to start small, and if possible bring along some people so that you have support. Life will get tough, we know that for sure, and clinging to the rock of scripture can help you weather the storms of life.
I will be working through another year-long Bible adventure, but I also work through different topics as God leads or as I encounter different challenges along the way.
Let me encourage you to…just start. Try it for five days. When you are done with five days, add five more days…and so on.
I pray you are blessed by the development of this habit.
Lord, as we embark on a journey of digging into your Word, I pray that people would encounter you in new and exciting ways. I pray that scripture would come alive for them. As they read passages from the Old Testament that they would see your provision. As they encounter the Psalms and Proverbs, that their hearts would be restored. And as they meet you in the New Testament that who you are and what you did for us would be a breath of fresh air for them. Your Word is powerful, please give us perseverance and discipline as we build this habit. Amen!
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