“Let It Get In You!”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yet, as much as I love the Christmas season, I still heave a sigh of relief when the wrapping paper is cleaned up and the decorations are boxed away for another year. Even our house seems to breathe easier in its simpler state, and we can all relax into a calmer rhythm for the winter season. The turn of the calendar offers a fresh start for many things, and I love to take some time to examine areas of my life that feel like they might need a bit of shoring up. I already know one area that I want to work on this next year, and that is deepening my daily Bible reading and study.
Years ago, I heard the phrase, “Get in it; let it get in you!” Similarly, it’s been said that you should be able to cut a Christian in any place and he will bleed the Word of God. In other words, every situation of your life should be influenced and tempered by God’s Word and its effect on you.
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “Scripture…is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” That shows you what is right (doctrine), what is wrong (reproof), how to get right (correction), and how to stay right (instruction in righteousness). Any Christian that is not well-grounded in the Word of God is more open to Satan’s lies and more susceptible to being deceived by their own heart! Verse 17 goes on to say, “That the man of God may be perfect (complete), throughly furnished unto all good works.” It is through the Scriptures that God equips and completes you.
It is only through constant exposure to God’s Word that you can be the woman God wants you to be. No matter whether you are married or not, have children or not, work a job or not – you function in a world that is overrun with Satan’s lies and you come into contact with people that need you to be saturated with God’s Word (lost co-workers and children at home are the first two that come to mind). Galatians 5:16 tells us that we should “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Every earthly relationship that you have will be helped if you are choosing to walk in the Spirit, but how can you walk in the Spirit when you don’t take time to feed and strengthen your “new man?” This sort of exposure to God’s Word will not come through just attending church. It is going to take more effort on your part to make it happen.
You need a priority.
At some point, you just have to say that you are going to prioritize reading your Bible and make it happen. What you do for your Bible study will vary from someone else, and even in different seasons of your life, but if you don’t tell yourself that it is going to happen this year, it won’t. Maybe you need to give up something else to make the time for it. Maybe you need to set an incentive for it – like no coffee or breakfast, until you’ve read your Bible!
You need a purpose.
Your purpose for Bible study will change how you approach it. Your purpose could be simply to start doing it. It might be a small beginning, but it is worthwhile!
Your purpose could be saturation. This is picking a book, a section of the Bible (Gospels, Minor Prophets, etc), or the whole Bible and deciding you are going to read through that part in a particular amount of time. Your purpose is not to sit and study out individual words every day, but to move quickly. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the Bible, or to get a good overview of particular parts. If reading through the entire Bible seems impossible, let me provide some perspective and encouragement. It takes about 70 hours to read the Bible out loud, which breaks down to twelve minutes a day to read it in a year!
Your purpose could also be study – whether a particular book, character, or topic. There are many methods to study your Bible, but this will take a little bit of preparation before you start.
You need a plan.
Did you know that the physical act of writing something down helps your brain focus on doing that thing? Get specific. Write down what your purpose is, what you want to read or study, what time you will do it every day, how long you will do it and even where you will do it!
There are so many “read through the Bible” plans available to purchase or print – I even have one printed in the back of my Bible! For character or topical study, you will need a list of every time that person or subject is mentioned. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is a great investment for this, but it can also be accessed online for free. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is another great resource to look up definitions of words that are unfamiliar (or even words you think you know), and once again, can be referenced online. (Just don’t get distracted by Facebook while you’re there!)
Find the resources you need online. Ask someone for help. Get an accountability partner! Set yourself up for success by setting a reminder on your phone, gathering your supplies and putting them at your seat, and then when it’s time to study, turning off your phone so that you won’t be distracted. Do whatever you need to do to prepare to accomplish your plan. Remember, this is a priority for you now.
You need to persevere.
Don’t be discouraged when your plan falls through. Remember that it takes about 21 days to build a habit. Try to stick with your plan for 21 days and build it into your life. Adjust your plan if necessary to make it more workable, but don’t give up!
Have a Plan B for the days when it all just falls apart. (With two small children at home, I know what this is like!) You can listen to Scripture audio on CDs or online – just spend some time listening to the Bible on those days when you don’t have a spare second to sit down. If all else fails, plan ahead by writing Scripture verses on little cards to leave by your kitchen sink, to read while you’re working, and ponder the truth of God’s Word.
Remember that even when you fail or miss, you can start again tomorrow. Just don’t fail to start again!
Ladies, here is my encouragement for 2020, both to you and to myself: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” (Colossians 3:16)