I love this quote by Vance Havner – “The alternative to discipline is disaster.”
In the next few weeks we are going to discuss spiritual disciplines on this blog, taking one per week. The reason we are doing this is so we can learn, apply and help keep our lives from becoming a disaster spiritually.
The first discipline is on the subject of “Bible Reading”.
In the book “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” the author says “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.”
Jesus once said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). The purpose of reading and hearing God’s Word is so we can be obedient to what God says and develop Christlikeness.
We have talked about what being a true disciple of Christ is. To be with Jesus, to be like Jesus, to do what Jesus did. If we want to be changed, if we want to become more like Jesus, we need to discipline ourselves to read the Bible.
I love to read non-fiction. Authors like AW Tozer, Spurgeon are my favorite, but any book that can draw me closer to God is something I enjoy doing. The danger though is when you substitute these books instead of reading the Word of God. These books are to enhance and help our understanding, but there is no substitution of the Bible.
If our growth in God was measured by the quality (and quantity) of our Bible reading and intake, what would our growth look like?
No guilt here, no shame. Remember Philippians 3:13 – “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”. Don’t be discouraged by the past, but exchange that for a decision today.
With any discipline, consistency matters. I would suggest these three things to help develop this discipline of Bible reading…
Find a time: Consistent time with the Lord in prayer and reading the Word is essential. I’d try to pick the same time each day, every day, and put it in your calendar.
Find a plan: Look for a plan, devotional, book study, whatever will keep you on track.
Find a word: Find a word, scripture, phrase, idea that you read to spend some time on during that day to pray through, apply, and think deeply on. If not, it’s easy to distract or forget later what you read.
Consistency matters, and remember the goal with any Bible intake…it’s about application instead of simple head knowledge. Let’s be “doers of the Word”.