I will give one hundred dollars to the first person who can find one of the two following verses in the Bible with these exact words: “The lion shall lay down with the lamb” or “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” However, no matter how hard you look, you will not find either of them in the Bible in this form. They do not exist. Now whether or not you knew that fact, we as Christians ought to be in God’s Word on a daily basis. We have to be in the Word and bind it to our hearts and minds.
As Christians, we ought, “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” as Romans 12:2 states. Yet how can we as a Christian nation be what God asks and discern right from wrong, when ninety percent of churchgoers claim to “desire to please and honor Jesus in all [they] do,” but over eighty percent of churchgoers do not read the Bible on a daily basis, according to a study completed by Lifeway Research? How will we know how to minister to others or even live the lifestyle we claim to follow if we do not even know what scripture says?
As Paul writes about sin in Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV): “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Look around, watch the news, observe, and see that this world is not becoming a more morally sound place. It’s lost and buried in confusion, but, as Christians, we must be a light in this dark place. How can we expect to do that if we do not know God’s Word and what he is trying to tell us.
Everybody, from surgeons to shoe shiners, has twenty-four hours per day. Yet there are people from all different professions who choose to prioritize and make God first. As Christians, we need to make God first in our lives. It might mean that you cannot watch your favorite show(s) every single night, sign into Facebook every day, or gain those extra thirty minutes of sleep – but as a Christian, God is to be first in your life, and there are myriad ways you can make his word an important part of your day. You can read a chapter or two each day before you go to work or listen to the Bible in your car while dropping off the kids. It is important to integrate your spiritual growth into your daily life.
Make yourself accountable
As God himself said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone.” As human beings, we are creatures that are dependent on each other for improvement – so reading the Bible is an activity that does not have to be done on your own. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you or even convict you if you do not want to read the Bible. Make a commitment to your friend, your wife, or even your kids that you will read the Bible. Ask them to keep you accountable for your actions so that you do not falter. Better yet, read the Bible as a family or start a study group among your fellow church members so that you can read, analyze, and discuss the Bible together. It is amazing how much can be accomplished when we lead a life loving the Lord as a church body as we were made to do.
If you are going to read the Bible, do it well
Pray before you read and ask that the Lord will open your eyes to new insights and that He will speak to you through it. Make sure you are actively thinking about the passage and seeing how the Old Testament correlates with the New Testament, and vice versa – you will be amazed by all of the foresight that the Lord blessed these writers with. Also, make sure you read the notes in your study Bible if you do not understand a concept or phrase. Oftentimes, the notes that the writers provided offer imperative insights to understanding what the Bible is truly saying. Make this experience a learning experience! However, most of all – use the Bible to really see what God wants of you. Proverbs 8:17 (NIV) says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When you truly search for God, you will never be disappointed.
Use your newfound knowledge to spark discussion among your friends and family or minister to others by memorizing important scripture in the Bible. Memorizing scripture is not as hard as it sounds. You can write it on an index card and tape it to your mirror so that you see it every day when you are getting ready in the morning. You could create a song for each line, think of an image or acronym for each verse, break the verse into chunks and then put it all together, or repeat the passage out loud each night for a week. Memorizing scripture may seem like too ambitious of a goal, but it is extremely important for ministering to others and for your own spiritual growth.
As you embark on this task, realize that this is God’s guide for your life and love letter to you. It is reliable, holy, trustworthy, and true. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 goes so far as to say that, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Realize that God – our Creator, Lord, and King – speaks to you through it. I beg you not to miss out on what God is trying to tell you. Please be in the Word and see what he has in store for you.