If I am being completely honest, being in God’s Word on a regular basis has been a hard journey of ups and downs, being consistent some days and other days not being consistent at all. But it has been something that I have worked hard to stay committed and devoted to. I remember in my teenage days wanting to learn to read the Bible and journal my thoughts, but found myself getting so frustrated because I just felt like I couldn’t do it well. The desire was their, but that desire was met with discouragement and then burnout!
I know I am not the only one who has struggled or is struggling with this. I know there are some out there who really do have the desire to be in God’s Word, to stay committed and focused, but frustration is drowning that desire.
So what do we do, hang it up for now and hope that desire comes back and we try again later?
Here is my encouragement to you.
Chill Out…God’s Not Mad at You
First things first, you need to relax! My biggest struggle growing up was the fear that God was mad at me because I was not doing good enough. How good is good enough, right? I couldn’t ever answer that, but in my mind, I was not measuring up and God was mad. I wasn’t reading enough, memorizing enough, and sharing enough of what I was reading, and God was sitting up on his throne looking down on me and shaking his head in disgust. That could not be any further from the truth. The truth is that Jesus knows we are not going to get it the first time, the second time, the third time, and that it might be a struggle for the rest of your life, but He is not going anywhere! Just like the time when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray! You would think that the followers of Jesus would know this already, right? They didn’t. But Jesus didn’t look at them and say, “what do you mean you don’t know how to pray…that’s ridiculous! How long have you been walking with me?” Nope. He just taught them how to pray.
God wants to teach you how to be with Him. He wants to teach you how to be the in Bible. He wants to grow you in wisdom and understanding (Philippians 1:9). He wants you to be fully equipped, lacking in nothing as the Bible teaches and corrects and builds you up (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus wants you to succeed and He wants to be your teacher!
Don’t just sit there…Read something
Let’s talk nuts and bolts. The biggest problem that I faced when wanting to read the Bible was knowing where to start. I would sit there with my Bible in front of me hoping that God would just blow open the pages to some place and that would be where I would start. Well my Bible never opened on its own. It took me deciding that I wanted to simply be in God’s Word, and that it was all good stuff, and that I wouldn’t ever go wrong with just being in it – period.
Don’t make finding the right thing to read so hard that you get frustrated and don’t read anything! Been there and done that.
When I am looking for a reading game-plan, I use YouVersion Bible app, or I go to their website Bible.com. They have a variety of reading plans that you can search through and find what’s best for you. There are other tools you can use as well. Google them and get started. Again, don’t make finding a tool to use to read the Bible so hard that you fail to JUST START READING GOD’S WORD.
Don’t just read to read…Read with a purpose
At Vantage Point Church, I pastor people to use a method called REAP. It is a simple tool that will help you go a little deeper as you read. Here it is all spelled out.
Open your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train you (2 Timothy 3:16). As you’re reading, ask these questions:
What is happening in this passage? What things are emphasized, repeated, related?
What do you see about God? What is God doing in this passage?
What do you see about man?
Spend some time reflecting. Ask yourself these questions, and write down your thoughts:
How do you think the author wants his audience to respond?
What do you learn about God’s character?
What wrong beliefs about God and myself did I have?
After examining the passage, apply the text to your own life. Ask yourself these questions:
What do you need to obey from this passage? (Is there a Promise to live out, a Sin to confess, a Truth to believe)
How do I need to repent? What false beliefs must I turn from?
What can I do – empowered by the Holy Spirit – today to apply this passage?
Pray through the passage and your application, asking God to change your heart and to change your life based on the time you’ve spent in God’s Word.
After you finish share what God taught you with at least one person—your friend, your spouse, your kids, or your coworkers. Don’t keep what God taught you to yourself.
Invest time…Get good at reading the Bible
This is going to take some time to get good at! It is going to take some time to make it a daily habit. But here’s the deal, this is something you can’t afford to forgo. Think again about 2 Timothy 3:17, the last statement, “that you would perfect, complete, lacking in nothing”. Isn’t that what every infomercial, or the latest and greatest diet promises. And we buy that stuff like crazy. The eternal promise here is great than anything you can buy on this earth, it is the promise to those who are in God’s word that you will be complete and perfect. That I want!
How about you? How bad do you want it? Is it worth it. I think God makes it very clear that it is worth it.
Psalms 1 says it like this:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
There is no better time to start than right now. Don’t wait for next Monday to start, like I do with working out in the gym. Just get started today.
Here are some great resources that can help you get going – http://vantagepointchurch.tv/get-into-the-bible/