It’s Lent—the season of directing our attention to the passion of Christ. In doing so, Christians throughout the ages have made an effort for increased devotion in the season of Lent. In line with this focus, it’s good for us to consider our devotional life at home. So I’d like to ask the question, why don’t you take the time to read God’s Word? There are three points to consider:
- Because you don’t believe God’s Word is beneficial to your soul.
- Because you don’t know how to start and it seems overwhelming.
- Because developing the habit is difficult.
The first one is difficult to hear—it’s difficult to say to you. However, we have to confess that the root problem is sin, not matters of practicality. The real reason we don’t pour over God’s Word at every waking moment (when we’re not already serving our neighbor) is because by nature we are despisers of God’s Word. Perhaps you find it boring. I agree with you. Let’s repent. If we don’t find beauty and value in God’s word—the problem isn’t with God’s Word, the problem is with us. If it wasn’t for our sinful flesh, we wouldn’t delight in anything more than God’s Word. If we don’t find our joy in the Word of God, confess that—Christ forgives you.
Secondly, many people don’t the time to read God’s Word because it’s a big book, it’s difficult to understand, and it’s easy to get lost in everything that’s going on. All too often, people set out to read the Bible and maybe make it through Genesis, or Exodus but lose steam in the middle of Numbers or Deuteronomy. Most of the time, the problem is that we start out over ambitious resolving to tackle too much—so that it doesn’t have the staying power to become a habit. If you’re just starting out, I recommend reading something like the Gospel of John first. Then maybe the other Gospels and then the other books of the New Testament, but save Revelation until you’ve read everything else. This will help you build understanding before reading more difficult books. Also, set small goals. Read a chapter or for 5 minutes every day. Pick up a devotional like Portals of Prayer, which only takes a few minutes to read.
Making something a habit starts with something that isn’t a chore to do. If you bite off too much, you won’t continue to do it for long. It is also helpful to attach your devotional reading to something you are already in the habit of doing every day. Maybe at the dinner table, before you clean the dishes you take the time to read the Scriptures at the dinner table. Perhaps a good time for you might be before bed or when you wake up—or some other time that works well for you. Attaching your devotions to something you’re already in the habit of doing makes it less likely to forget while you’re forming the habit. Also, try listening to the Bible rather than reading it silently. Take turns reading the Bible aloud by members of the house. Or listen to an audio version of the Bible on tape or online. As you listen to the Scriptures, focus on the words spoken as being God’s true Word spoken for you as it points you to Jesus.
This is no exercise in gaining spiritual points or meriting anything before God—but His Word is the conduit through which He bestows His blessings. Through His Word He is imparting to you what was won on the cross—the forgiveness of sins. It’s through God’s Word that he strengthens your faith and imparts to you life and salvation. God has placed His blessings among us in His word, because He is a gracious and merciful God to us sinners.