It takes roughly 28 days for an action to become a habit. That’s the point of a new year’s resolution! To make whatever it is you’re resolved to do a habit and not just a good thought at the beginning of the year. Many of you made a resolution to make studying your Bible a serious and consistent part of your life….and many of you have probably started falling off the wagon.
I want to give 6 tips on making sure that you stick to your guns when it comes to the Word. And don’t be afraid to comment with some of your own.
1. Schedule a Time
The best way I have found to stay consistent in reading the word of God (and prayer for that matter) is to KNOW when I’m going to be studying. How many of you know when you need to be at work? When you need to be at church? When you have to pick up your kids? ….Now how many of you miss these things on a regular?
Part of the reason I’m able to be consistent in the Word is because I intentionally carve out time for it.
The fact is, we live schedule driven lives. And with that understanding we can see that if we schedule a solid time to be in the word we will honor that time. I live and die by my calendar! And part of the reason I’m able to be consistent in the Word is because I intentionally carve out time for it.
2. Keep a Journal
Yeah, it sounds kind of girly to keep a ‘diary.’ But to me going to the Word with a journal shows God that I value what He is going to say to me through it.
Let me share how I do this. My writing looks like a secret code mixed with a seven year old’s cursive…meaning all my ‘journaling’ is done on my computer. My system includes keeping a notebook in Evernote for each book of the Bible and any prayer journals I have. It works for me! Find the journaling system that works for you.
3. Find a Reading Plan
My first advice to the new Christian or new Bible reader…do NOT do the one year Bible. Here’s why. It may work for some, but especially for those that are just getting started, well, I’ve never met anyone new to this that stuck with it. You get to the middle of Exodus and realize you could care less about reading the law.
My input? Do NOT do the one year Bible. Here’s why…
If your resolution is to read the Bible, then start with Jesus! My favorite reading plan is the New Testament in a Month. If you read 10 chapters a day you will be done in 28 days. How cool is that?! For others, focus on where you think God is leading you. Spend a month in the Gospels. Focus on Paul. Most of all, choose a plan that you feel you can stick to and don’t try to be a super Christian that does the 90 Day Bible Challenge.
4. Index Cards are Your Friends
Bible reading isn’t just about volume. It’s about having it written on your heart. One of the most solid ways to help this is by memorizing the Bible. Be intentional about the verses you choose to memorize. If you are struggling with depression, memorize verses about the Joy of the Lord! If you are learning about salvation, memorize verses surround the work of the cross. Catch my drift?
How do I do this? I use index cards! On my desk there is a little index card holder with the verse on one side, reference on the other. Another way I’ve done it is by recording myself saying the verses and then playing them in the car when I’m riding alone. I’m an auditory learner, and this seems to be the most effective. Find what works you.
5. Don’t Rely on Feelings
Guess what, you aren’t going to want to read the Bible sometimes. I can’t preach or pray you into desire. You just gotta want it man! When you sit down to read, more often than not, the dove does not descend and rest upon they shoulder and guide you into mind blowing revelation.
Yes, we find a deeper understanding and relationship with God through the scriptures, but avoid being soulish to the point that emotions and feeling dictate whether or not you get in the word.
6. Block Out the World
Want to make sure you don’t waste the time you scheduled? Turn your flippin’ phone off! John Piper said that social media will be used by God to show us the time when we could have been reading our Bibles and in prayer. Make your time in the word fruitful by turning off Facebook and texts and email.
I do that by turning off the wi-fi on my computer and making sure my to-do list app is closed. I’ve done it on my phone by downloading a YouVersion bible and putting my phone in airplane mode. Or, kick it old school with a real Bible! 🙂 One last tip…turn off the music every now and then. Worship has a place in study and prayer, but sometime we can’t hear God when He’s speaking because Jesus Culture is speaking louder. Try it and see if you don’t have a clearer ear. [hr]
What are some of the ways that you are making sure your resolution sticks?