There are few things more uplifting and encouraging in a difficult situation than hearing words to remind us that God is going to pull us through. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are a number of choice bible verses that we as Christians love to turn to in these situations. We have them memorised, ready to share at a moment’s notice, we write then in cards, put them in our diaries, and stamp them over everything from tea towels to coffee cups. These ‘coffee cup’ verses are indeed encouraging, but more often than not, amidst the desire to say and hear what we think will be most helpful, we are at risk of being encouraged by them for the wrong reasons – that is, what we imply or think they mean is not actually true.
This article is the final of this series on the Reading Rut, and actually the inspiration for the whole series in the first place. Of course there is a myriad of resources out there, so this is just a snapshot of things I have found helpful – so I encourage you to try them out, and I hope that they might be as good for you as they have for me. However if you find they are not for you, I also encourage you to look for something that is! Over the last few years I have discovered the importance of finding a routine and resources that works for you. My husband reads commentaries – he buys the top 3 on each book of the Bible, reads the entire thing making notes, and sits and reflects upon it. This method just isn’t for me – as much as I am so glad that he does it because it means the devotionals he runs for us are so knowledgeable and in-depth – and similarly, what I recommend here may not work for you.
REFLECTING ON GOD’S WORD
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalm 1:1-4) [emphasis mine]
When I first planned this series of the ‘Reading Rut,’ this post was not included in my plan. But as I constructed the previous articles, I realized that the following is an important aspect of reading that needs to be considered. So far, we have looked at some pretty important and encouraging reasons why we should be reading The Bible. In light of these, I hope that it has been clear that reading the Bible is not an aim to be achieved in itself; that is, it is not so we can tell others that we are ticking the Bible-reading box, or even to feel that we are fulfilling our ‘requirements’ as a Christian before God. Rather, it is a means to a greater end—Christ-likeness for God’s glory. Because of this purpose, the way we approach and undertake reading the Bible is incredibly important.
Why Read the Bible Regularly?
In my previous post, I explored a few reasons why we should be reading God’s Word; that it is God’s chosen way of communicating with us, that it aids our growth by teaching us, correcting us and equipping us to live a godly life, and like a roadmap, it tells us where we are, where we are going and how we get there, giving us an eternal perspective.
These are all very good and important reasons, but if you are someone like me who has grown up as a Christian or has read a lot of your Bible in the past, there is the potential to justify not reading your Bible because you already know the stories and the general gist of it. You know the roadmap already, you know what is regarded as sinful and what glorifies God, so what more knowledge are you going to gain? Aside from the fact that I feel like we are actually never going to stop learning and growing in understanding of God’s Word because it’s so deep and huge, there are many more reasons why we should become disciplined in reading the Bible regularly.
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.