March 29th is a special anniversary for me, and I never want to go back to the way it was before.
I’d reached a desperate point spiritually, and knew I needed to get serious about spending time in the Word and prayer. I’d tried unsuccessfully for years to stay committed to a daily routine.
My frequent failures convinced me that it just couldn’t be done.
I believed that lie until I heard a man share that he hadn’t missed his “daily quiet time” in more than three years. Three years! Surely he’s joking, I thought. And then he told us about the drastic step he took that helped him keep his commitment . . . he made a vow.
A vow? Isn’t it wrong to make a vow to God?
This is Day 3 in the “Top Ten” series.
I’m running down a list of ten things I would encourage you to incorporate into your life, if you want to deepen your love relationship with Christ and press on to spiritual maturity. If you’re just now joining me in this series, I hope you’ll jump over and read Monday and Tuesday’s posts where I address the first two items in my Top Ten list:
And then come back to join me for today’s topic:
#3 Feed on the Word Daily
I remember it well—the day I realized how out of whack my spiritual priorities were. I was a busy young pastor’s wife in a growing church body. I was flying down the Interstate toward the hospital in Indianapolis when the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts. He pointed out that I was in a hurry to get some place in order to “minister” to someone . . . but I hadn’t yet met with Him!
How could I do ministry without first getting alone in prayer, worshiping Him, and receiving instruction from His Word? How could I be so flippant to think I could pour out to others without first being nourished by Him?
I had forgotten the most important thing—sitting at His feet.
That day was one in a series of incidents that eventually led me to do something drastic about my commitment to daily Bible reading. No, I didn’t enter a monastery (or nunnery!), but I did do “something drastic” to get my lazy self in line for what would eventually become a life-long delight.
I made a vow to God; a sacred commitment to Him that I take as seriously as my marriage vow to my earthly husband.
When it came to that kind of commitment, I was a little timid to say the least!
So, I searched the Word and found the warning in Ecclesiastes that it’s better not to make a vow than to make one and break it. But I also found instances where vows were made to God—and kept!
Why did I fear making a vow to spend time daily in His Word? Because I recognized the seriousness of it!
It meant no going back—I’d have to keep that vow.
I struggled a bit before I knelt to voice the vow I’ve never regretted making. I don’t think I would’ve ever found victory in this area of my life without such a serious approach—I needed to go beyond trying and just do.
Other than salvation, nothing has been more life-changing for me than spending time in prayer and in His Word—daily—for several years now.
Yesterday I promised I’d share a few things that helped me stay consistent when I first started with a daily Bible reading routine.
I hope you’ll find some of these tips helpful:
Put Things into Perspective
A question that puts things into perspective is: Have you brushed your teeth today? You probably wouldn’t consider leaving the house without brushing your teeth, applying make-up, and spending some time on your hair. You’re probably not spending the day in your pajamas, either! Daily hygiene is a given for most of us. Daily Bible reading should be as well—it has far greater implications and rewards.
Daily Bible reading doesn’t require a dramatic life-change. Simply start by putting aside the same amount of time that it takes for you to brush your teeth, and use those moments to read one verse or Scripture passage (you can even do it while brushing your teeth!).
Let that small amount of time be your starting point.
Half the battle is getting into a regular routine. Once you decide that keeping a space of time for Bible reading is more important than brushing your teeth, drinking your morning coffee, or putting on your makeup, the next big battle is determining how long that space of time will be.
If you’ve failed many times at this, let me encourage you to start small. By starting small, I mean you can read as little as one verse—but read it while asking God to open your eyes to what this verse means, why He recorded it in Scripture, and how He wants you to apply it to your life.
Mull over questions like these as you’re driving to work or separating the laundry.
My daily Bible study routine looks much different today than when I had preschoolers, or than it does on a morning when I’ve spent the night in the hospital with a loved one. When you enter a more hectic season of life, if you’ve established a regular routine, you don’t have to let life’s interruptions keep you from at least reading and praying through a passage in the midst of the busyness.
Doing a Bible study with a small group of friends can help you stay consistent. When I first committed to a regular devotional time, that wasn’t an option; I couldn’t find a friend to be an accountability partner, so my journal held me accountable. Writing down the date and the passage I was reading let me see whether I was consistent.
Gotta Get to Bed!
You might prefer having your devotional time just before you slip off to sleep or when your kiddos are taking their nap, but I’ve found that I need to get the Word in me and on my mind before I start interacting with others in the morning. That means, if I’m getting up early to meet with the Lord—I’ve got to make getting to bed the night before a priority.
As you begin to drink daily from the milk of the Word, your appetite will increase, and soon you’ll want to adjust your schedule to go beyond just reading to actually studying the Word. Again, starting out small is wise; don’t put yourself in a position to fail by setting unrealistic goals.
Revive Our Hearts has great resources that can be used for daily Bible study—even reading through the daily radio transcripts and researching the related Scripture references will provide solid meat for spiritual growth.
Yesterday, I mentioned that fasting and prayer is a beautiful discipline that aids in our spiritual growth, but the one thing we should never fast from is daily feeding on the Word of God.
I’d love to hear tips from you on what helps you stay in the Word daily!