Getting serious

The new year is upon us. Gym memberships will be up, diet plans will be plentiful, and by March many of them will be abandoned. This is the time of year when we decide to “get serious” about something in our lives. That may be physical fitness, it might be nutrition, it might be a decision to read more. For many, this means a decision to get serious about following God.

Just like those who decide they’re going to work out starting on January 1st or those who think that a new year means they’ll have the will power to stop eating junk food, lots of well-meaning Christians falter in their new year plans to read the Bible more, pray more, or even attend church more regularly. Why do you think this is?

There are probably a lot of psychological reasons for this, but I’m no expert, so let me just share my view with you. I think that we fail because we go into these things without a sustainable plan. We hit a diet hard without considering how it fits into our lives from here on out. It may work for a time, but we can’t keep it up as life happens. Same goes for the gym. January 1st comes and we decide we’re hitting the gym 7 days a week, something that we can’t keep up with realistically. So we burn out early on and we quit. Those who approach these things with a realistic expectation, however, tend to succeed. Let’s look at spiritual things from this perspective.

It’s a good thing to decide that you’re going to get serious about reading the Bible more regularly. It’s not a great idea to bite off more than you can chew though. I’m not a Bible expert, but I’ve read it a few times from beginning to end, so let me share a few tips for those of you who want to read the entire Bible.

  • Don’t make reading the Bible a chore to be checked off on a to-do list. This isn’t going to keep your interest and it’s not a good approach.
  • Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day. Just pick up where you left off. You’re doing this to get an understanding of God, not to meet legalistic requirements.
  • Pick a translation of the Bible that you’re comfortable with.
  • Stay engaged with what you’re reading. Take notes.
  • Read the entire Bible through “Gospel Goggles.” When you read Genesis as someone living in the 21st century, you know how the rest of the story goes. Read the Old Testament with the knowledge of what happens in the New Testament.
  • Select a Bible reading plan that keeps you engaged. It might not be best to read Genesis through Revelation in order. Try out a Chronological reading plan or one that includes something from the OT and something from the NT each day. I really liked the M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan. I’ll be doing it again this year. You can join with me by clicking here.
  • Set aside a specific time that you’re going to read the Bible. Do it in a quiet place so that you’re not distracted. Stay consistent.

Are there any tips you would add to this?