I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it publicly.
Why am I disclosing this struggle? Because first, there is nothing you could discover about me that hasn’t already been covered by the blood of Jesus. And second, I know I’m not the only one who wrestles with it.
I hope by making this statement, I encourage you to be honest as well.
Here’s the confession: I’m not always excited or motivated to read the Bible.
I feel the weight and embarrassment particularly at the beginning of a new year, when we’re being prompted to start Bible reading plans.
So today and next week, I want to encourage and inspire you to persevere in your personal Bible study. I want to share eight life-giving and heart-changing blessings that only ever come from spending time in God’s Word.
Here are the first four:
Scripture is so important because that’s where we discover God. If we are created for him, designed to walk in close communion with him, and called to love and serve him, how can we do those things without first knowing him?
Personal time in the Bible will stimulate God-awareness. Consistently returning to the Word will prevent God-amnesia. As sinners, we’re in constant danger of forgetting (at a practical level) that God exists.
The second most important thing behind a life-shaping knowledge of God is a heart-humbling knowledge of self. This is why God blessed us with the mirror that is his Word (James 1:22-25). Looking into it regularly and intently will provide us with an accurate picture of who we are and the depth of our need.
We all must abandon the notion that no one knows us better than we know ourselves. As long as sin remains, there will be pockets of spiritual blindness in all of us (Jeremiah 17:9).
Knowledge of God’s Plan
You and I were designed to live for something much bigger than ourselves - “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). But what does it practically mean to seek God’s kingdom every day?
The answer is splashed across page after page of Scripture. The Bible paints a portrait of what it looks like to have our lives shaped by what God wants for our lives. Studying Scripture will rescue us from the claustrophobic confines of our little kingdoms of self and deliver us to his big kingdom of glory and grace.
What is God doing right here, right now, in your life? I can give you the answer in one word - change. Yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains, so God is working by grace to progressively transform you.
I love the metaphor of Isaiah 55:13 - a thorn bush becomes a cypress tree. When you allow the rain of God’s Word to water your soul, you don’t become a better rendition of what you once were. No, by grace, you become something radically new and organically different!
So keep reading your Bible this week. As our world desperately seeks to find purpose in 2020, it has been hand-delivered to us by grace.
Inside the pages of Scripture, you will unlock the meaning of life, discover who you are designed to be, receive a mission statement for your existence, and literally experience a “new year, new you” (by the power of the Holy Spirit).
That sounds like the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you could ever make. And the best part? It’s a resolution you can make every morning for the rest of your life (Lamentations 3:22-23)!
1. Is there something that consistently distracts you from reading the Bible? What part of studying Scripture do you struggle with most?
2. What is one aspect of God’s character that you need to be reminded of most today? Have you experienced a street-level God-amnesia recently?
3. What is something that God’s Word has revealed about you? How are you responding to that revelation?
4. Where is God calling you to abandon your own kingdom and contribute to his kingdom this week? Be specific as you consider what you might need to sacrifice.
5. What do you want to change most about your life in 2020? Is this driven by self-love or love of God? What priorities do you need to shift to get on God’s agenda page for personal transformation?