We are often more motivated at the start of something than we are in the long run. Even if it's about something wonderful, vital, or life changing.
Lhe Word of God is all of this and more, but we often find it difficult to read and study it regularly and on an ongoing basis. We start with good intentions, then life gets in our way. But we can stay motivated. Try one or more of the following tips to keep you in the Word day in and day out for life.
1. Remember why you are doing it
Remembering the value of the Bible to our lives is the first step. The first chapter of the Psalms paints a startling picture of someone “planting” their life in the Word of God. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water which gives fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers ”(Psalm 1: 3). When the truth of God's Word is our daily “diet”, we not only prosper spiritually and bear fruit for his Kingdom, but we develop a deep relationship with him.
2. Discover new perspectives
For too many years I have felt compelled to read my Bible. Even though I got into the habit of reading it every day, it was based on a “must” attitude. I felt guilty when I missed a day because I was acting out of legalism. But God changed my heart. He showed me that spending time with Him is a great privilege and a great joy, not an obligation. When we open the Bible, we invite God to reveal himself, to reveal his will and his ways to us. The God of the universe wants us to know Him intimately. Each time we read His Word, it is a new opportunity to know Him more.
3. Have a plan
Random reading only defeats us. We are better able to read each day if we know in advance where we are going to read. Our plan can be as simple as reading a book from the Bible. There are also hundreds, if not thousands, of Bible reading plans. Some Bibles include built-in reading plans. There are also many plans on websites and in apps. Daily devotional books can be a useful tool if we use them correctly.
4. Find the perfect time and place
If the desired outcome is a daily - or almost daily - time with God in His Word, then we must find the conditions - the time and place - that will best favor it. For example, I am a morning person, so I start my day with the Bible. For you, it could be the lunch break or after the kids have gone to bed. The important thing is to set a time that is generally convenient for you every day and where interruptions will be minimal. Equally important is setting your quiet time. Find a place that's comfortable, private, and weather-free. The best time, the best place, your favorite place.
5. Organize your "toolbox"
In a kitchen drawer I keep a small hammer with screwdrivers of different sizes built into the handle. Anytime I see a loose screw, I don't put off the moment to tighten it because the tool is at hand. Likewise, keeping “our tools” for quiet moments together in one place removes another barrier to accessing the world. We are always ready. Gather the tools you need - your Bible, reading plan, journal, pens, highlighters, or whatever else you need to study the Word. Then put them in a ready-to-use container. You can use a basket, a tote, or even a toolbox!
6. Find reading partner (s)
Everything is better when you share it with a friend. That is why some form of responsibility for our Bible reading will keep us coming back. It can be a friend, spouse or official partner. Use the same reading plan and set a regular time to talk about what God has taught you. An organized study group is another effective way to help you stay in the Word. It could be a group in your church, in your neighborhood, or online. You can find groups at many Bible sites online and in Bible apps. There are also some solid ones on social media.
7. Plan for success
In our enthusiasm to commit or re-engage in the Word of God, we can set ourselves big goals like spending an hour each morning or reading the Bible in 90 days. But unrealistic goals only set us up for failure. Instead, let's set ourselves goals that are achievable, but that also allow us to move forward. Start with what you think you can do, then build on it. If you've managed to spend ten minutes a day reading the Bible, go to fifteen, not thirty. When fifteen minutes becomes a solid, achievable habit, add time.
8. Maintain interest
Prayer and the Word of God are the foundation of our regular time with God. But, by adding other elements here and there, we'll keep things interesting. Music can transform our hearts for a time of worship. The diary can focus our prayers and provide a lasting reminder of how God works in our lives. One day we might read a large portion of the scriptures and another day we might focus on a few verses. Something as simple as reading another translation can improve our time with Him.
9. Take advantage of technology
Putting our daily time with God on the calendar and setting off an alert is a good start. Many online sites and apps not only offer Bible reading plans, but they also send reminder notifications. Some of these sites will even "read" the passage aloud. It is a great tool.
10. Celebrate small accomplishments
Achieving short-term goals - like reading a Bible book - is a great reason to celebrate! We could enjoy a scoop of ice cream or a Facetime call with a friend. Pick a reward that will keep you moving forward to the next goal and the next.
11. Put in place offensive measures
Distractions fill our world, our homes, and our daily lives. They are waging a war against our good intentions to read the Bible. Since email, social media and the like… are great distractions for me, I made a commitment not to open my laptop until I have spent some time reading the Word of God. Identify your biggest distractions and worst times, then set limits to eliminate the threat.
12. Grant Yourself Grace
Legalism will bring joy out of our relationship with Christ. Yes, we want to do everything to honor our commitment to spend time with Him, but some days are more difficult than others. When your daily Word time is not possible, just try to start over tomorrow.
Article reproduced in part and translated from the site Crosswalk.
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