I'm sure by now that you've received multiple emails, social media ads, or push notifications encouraging you to start a Bible reading plan for 2017.
Since it's only three days into the New Year, my guess is that most of you are batting 3-for-3 and feeling good! But if you're anything like me - easily distracted with a fickle heart - reading the Word of God consistently will be a challenge.
I'm not going to endorse an app or recommend a specific plan. There are many great ones to choose from. Rather, I want to give you five motivational reasons to open the Bible when you don't feel like it.
The only way you can properly understand who you are and what you were given life and breath to do is when you look at yourself through the lens of the narrative of Scripture. It's only in this story that you will learn that you were made by God and for God, that everything you are and have comes from him, and that you were made to live for something vastly bigger than yourself.
You will never know all that you need to know in order to live as you were designed to live by human experience, research, and analysis. This is why God immediately spoke with Adam and Eve after he created them. In the same way, God speaks to us in his Word so that we can know and understand, and in knowing and understanding, live as we were created to live.
The world in which you live can be very confusing, distressing, and painful. But the biblical story comforts us with another reality - that our world is not out of control. Rather, our world is under the careful personal control of One who is the ultimate definition of everything that is good, true, wise, and loving. We can rest, not because we understand what's happening, but because we know the One who rules it all.
This is the ultimate reason for the Word of God. Without it, we wouldn't know that our biggest problem exists inside of us and is called sin. The biblical story chronicles the great things God has done and is doing to rescue, forgive, and deliver us from our sin. The epicenter event of the narrative is the Cross of Jesus Christ, delivering to us the one thing that we desperately need but cannot achieve on our own - new life.
The biblical story, because it is a story, has a final chapter. One day, the sickness, sadness, and sin of this broken world will end. We will be like God and with God forever. The Author of this Book has guaranteed the end of the story by raising Jesus from the dead. No matter what happens, we have hope, because we know the final page has already been penned.
So as you begin 2017, don't be driven by a duty-bound checklist or reading plan. Employ one as a helpful tool, but be inspired to read the Bible as a story.
This story has one central character: God himself, specifically in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. From cover to cover, the Bible is a narrative of his wondrous works and the blessings that are yours by grace.
This old, old story imparts identity, understanding, comfort, salvation, and hope. Has it become your favorite story to read everyday?
- What have been some obstacles in the past to reading your Bible consistently?
- How can you make changes to your schedule that prioritize Scripture reading?
- What does your current schedule reveal about your priorities?
- How can you encourage others to read the biblical narrative (without defaulting to recommending a reading plan)?