If you were to ask any believer, young or old, if staying in the Word is difficult for them, I don’t think you would find many people who would say no. Discipline, in any form, is never easy, and it’s never without cost.
On some days, it’s easier to make daily Bible reading a part of our routine, and on other days, we make excuses, we find ourselves lacking zeal, and we just don’t make the time for it like we should. If you’re like me, on the days when it becomes less of a priority, I often feel burdened with guilt, convicted that I should have woken a little earlier or stayed up a little later to fit in that precious time with the Lord.
Perhaps some of us have convinced ourselves that in order to spend adequate time in the Word, we must do a deep, hours-long study of a singular passage. In order for our Bible reading to “count,” we must sit, pen in hand, with our Bible, a commentary, a study Bible, a Greek and Hebrew lexicon, and a notebook spread across our kitchen table.
Perhaps we feel that we won’t understand what we are reading. Maybe we want to start reading through the Psalms, but we feel that, in order to properly understand, we must first read the preceding books in the Old Testament. (What an overwhelming and unnecessary burden to bear!)
Or perhaps we have missed so many days of our Bible reading routine that we are unsure of how to begin again, so we just put it off another day.
Maybe you can relate to one or all of these sentiments. Nevertheless, these obstacles are products of our flesh. They’re all excuses, a lack of discipline, and ultimately sinful disobedience. As hard as that may be to hear, the good news is that God doesn’t need our worldly stipulations added to His command to spend time in the Word. He doesn’t need us to put qualifiers on what “counts” as time in the Word. He simply commands us to read it and meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2)
We have such a tendency to add extra pressure to a task that is actually very simple, yet we so often forget that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In Psalm 37, David exhorts us to “delight” ourselves in the Lord. Delighting in the Lord means enjoying Him and glorifying Him in all things. Isn’t that the purpose for which we were created?
Enjoying God doesn’t stop at admiring His creation, praying with thanksgiving, or delighting in His work in our lives. Enjoying God can be done intellectually through knowledge of Him and who He is.
So, we can begin to delight in the Lord by challenging ourselves to read just a few chapters a day. We may not understand everything we are reading, or we may have to re-read a sentence or two several times before it sinks in, but the point is that we are being obedient to God’s command, seeking wisdom from His Word, and simply enjoying time with Him to bring Him glory.
While in-depth, hours-long studies are good and beneficial to our spiritual growth, our daily Bible reading doesn’t have to look like that. We would burn ourselves out if the acceptable requirement for reading the Word was an expository study of an entire book of the Bible.
If we would just begin to view being in the Word as an act of relishing in and enjoying God and less as a burden to bear or a box to check off, we might be more encouraged and more consistent in reading the Scriptures daily. If we would trust that it is the Lord who provides wisdom, and not our own understanding of the text, we would be more confident in our Bible readings. If we avoid reading the Scriptures because we fear a lack of understanding, all we have to do is ask God for the wisdom which He gives generously (James 1:5).
If we have abandoned reading the Word because we found ourselves too busy or too distracted, perhaps we should examine our hearts and repent of the sin which is keeping us from prioritizing time with Him. And if we are unsure of how to jump back in, the best thing we can do is pray for wisdom and discipline ourselves to start reading.
In the same way that it is a biblical command to be in the Word, we would be wise to remember that it is also a biblical command to enjoy God. Our chief end, after all, is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. So whatever reason or excuse you may have for not spending time in the Word each day, remember that it is He who provides wisdom and understanding. Our job is to simply act in obedience and delight in Him.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”–John 15:11
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