Oh, the New Year. The annual clean slate. The time when people jumpstart resolutions and gym memberships are half price. There is renewed hope.
Bloggers and Christian bookstores are gearing up for the spiritual resolutions. Because of the “read my Bible in a year” resolutions, Bible reading plans are coming out of the woodwork. Stores are stocking up on Bibles such as the “365-day Bible.”
I have tried reading plans several times over the years. I have signed up for daily emails, registered for phone apps, downloaded check-off sheets - and yet, I never seem to make it to the end. So this year, I’m going to try to do something different.
I resolve to NOT do a Bible reading plan.
3 Reasons for an Anti-Reading Plan Resolution:
- Let’s face it. Most of us don’t complete our resolutions. 8% of people are actually successful in completing their lofty resolutions. This means that although I may begin my reading of Genesis 1:1 on January first, the chances of me ending December 31 with a reading of Revelation 22:21 are very, very slim.
*Instead, I resolve to pray that God opens my heart to fall in love with His Word. I want to be like David in saying, “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long” (Psalm 119:97). I want to be hungry for Scripture.
I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
- Psalm 119:15-17
- Reading plans shift my focus to be task oriented from day one. Sure, I may be better at setting aside time during the day to complete my reading assignment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that my heart is prepared to spend time in the Word with God.
*Instead, I resolve to set time aside in my day to spend time with the Lord. Of course, this will include praying, reading His Word, and enjoying His creation. The ultimate purpose, however, is spending time in the presence of God, not to check off a box on a reading log.
The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words. I implore your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
- Psalm 119:57-58
- Reading plans do not allow for questions. If my goal is to stay on track with my plan, I do not have enough time to process a passage that touches my heart, or is very challenging to understand. I probably do not have enough time to dwell in the passage. After all, tomorrow is a new day, and perhaps even a new book in the Bible to read.
*Instead, I resolve to come to the Bible with an expectant heart. I will ask the Holy Spirit to guide my reading, and if necessary, I will spend days on a single verse for the sake of knowing my Lord in a deeper way.
Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
- Psalm 119:18
So, no, it doesn’t mean I’m swearing off Bible reading for the year of 2016. Quite the opposite, actually. As Psalm 119 states, I will ask God to turn me to His decrees (His Word) and for my heart to delight in them.
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.