All of us have been there at some point before; you may even be there right now. And despite the guilt, shame, and knowing that you really just need to get onto it and fix it, it often seems like no amount of trying and good intentions can get you out of it. I’m talking about a reading rut—a place where reading God’s Word is just not a regular part of your day-to-day life, or even life at all. I have seen this countless times, and for a variety of reasons; a dislike of reading in general, loss of motivation, habit that has been lost, squeezed for time, perceived lack of fruit, not understanding the passage or seeing its relevance, or a sense of distance from God.
Whilst there have certainly been times in my life where I can relate to this, for the past few years God has blessed me with a pattern of reading His Word which fits into my life and means I am really excited by the opportunities I get to spend time with God during my day. I’m sharing this not because I want to be prideful, or because I want you to feel guilty—in fact quite the opposite; I want you to know that this can be true for you too, and that you can experience growing delight and joy from spending time in God’s Word. Once again, I am no expert in this field, and I really cannot provide any quick-fix solutions, for it is God who provides the motivation, grows people in love and understanding of Himself and ultimately changes hearts. But I have found myself frequently having conversations with people regarding this struggle, and wanted to equip, encourage and strengthen people in a similar boat with some mindsets, habits and resources I’ve benefited greatly from.
So I am going to be writing a 3 part series, ‘The Reading Rut,’ which will talk about 3 areas of reading God’s Word:
The first section will be a little overview on why it is important to be reading God’s Word. Most people usually already know the importance of listening to God through his Word, but I feel there is worth in remembering the reasons for things rather than simply thinking ‘I know I should do this.’ It’s like comparing ‘I should exercise’ with ‘I need to do regular exercise because it is good for my physical and emotional health, and if I don’t I will be unfit, have higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, and then I will get complications and could have a heart attack and will probably have lower quality of life and shorter life expectancy when I am older’. (< y’all should exercise too hey). It probably still isn’t all that is needed for change to occur, but can tip the balance in the right direction.
The second section will be about what to do with God’s Word when we are reading it. Because while it’s all well and good to be reading the Bible, reading isn’t the end goal! I will be talking about reflecting and meditating on God’s Word as the means by which we connect our heads and our hearts, which in turn allows us to put God’s Word into action (all by the work of the Holy Spirit).
The third section will be resources. It will not be an exhaustive list, but hopefully a starting place for if you are in a reading rut, or even just looking for some ways to make spending time with God more flexible and accessible, or want some theological input from people with much greater Biblical knowledge than you (and me!).
Finally, if you are someone who is not currently in a reading rut, that is finding regular time to be delving into God’s Word, I just want to encourage you for two reasons:
- Reading up to the end of this post when it may not seem relevant to you. You are either a) demonstrating a great humility and continued willingness to grow and to help others to grow, or b) you feel sorry for me/are my friend and want to say you’ve been reading my blog (thanks – haha). But in all seriousness, I do hope that God can use these posts by his Spirit to be of benefit to you too.
- For your commitment, discipline and regularity of reading. One thing I vividly remember realising in my teenage years was that whilst we all are struggling with different sins at different times, there will be times in life when, by God’s grace, aspects of our relationship with God that are fruitful and thrive. I want to praise God for your reading-rut absence, and encourage you to keep walking in the good works of Bible reading and reflection that God has for you.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming posts over the coming weeks. If you haven’t yet signed up to get emails when posts come out – you should!
(You can find the next post in the series here.)