By Sarah Frazer, Crosswalk.com
My yawn stopped me in my tracks. I closed my eyes and sighed. The toddler was chirping away with his early morning chatter. Just like the birds, his eyes popped open when the sun peaked over the mountains. My body longed to stay in bed. The six-month-old baby had been up several times to eat during the night.
I poured my cup and shuffled to the table, putting the baby in his highchair. I went back to the kitchen to fix breakfast for my two young boys. My day had not started the way I had planned.
I sipped my cold coffee as we settled into the day. I looked at my desk in the living room. My Bible was sitting on the top of some papers. It was placed there the night before. I had all of the intentions in the world to get up early and read it. But the unexpected wakings in the middle of the night caused me to hit my snooze over and over. There I was, knee-deep in diapers, tantrums, and crumbs, without even a prayer whispered to God. I realized my heart just wasn’t in it.
I wanted to want to read the Bible, but I was struggling to keep my head above water with two little children. Years later, and with three more kids added to the mix, there are days I still wake up late and don’t read my Bible. There are days I just don’t feel like reading. Even today, the motivation to read wasn’t completely there. Our family is still hurting from a recent heartache, and I’m tired all of the time. Have you ever been through something hard and the want-to leaves?
Even though I know I should read my Bible, I often find my lack of motivation disheartening. How do we overcome our feelings? The Bible should be something we want to read - but what if we don’t want to? Let’s go through three reasons why we should read our Bibles and then four practical steps on how to be motivated.
3 Reasons Why We Should Read Our Bible
The first is because the Bible is our guide for life. We all say we want to hear from God, or know what God wants for our lives. In the Bible, we find what He is saying to us. God’s promises and presence are found in the pages of Scripture. God is made alive when we read the Bible. We see Him work in the lives of the people who lived long ago. God tells us how to act and react to things in our lives. Pages and pages of His Word contain comfort and peace for us when life is hard. God’s very words to us are found in the Bible. The Bible gives a light to our path.
The next reason we should read our Bible is that it keeps our minds centered on God and His truth. In a world filled with information, articles, podcasts, books, and television shows, we are constantly told things about life that just aren’t Biblical. If we want to maintain a Biblical worldview, then we need to know what the Bible says. So often, Christians will say things like, “Follow your heart.” Or “Just let go and let God.” Both of those are not based on Bible principles or truths. In fact, the “follow your heart” phrase is anti-Biblical. To keep our minds sharp and in focus, we need to be saturated with what the Bible says.
The third reason to read our Bibles is that God longs to connect with us. More than anything, we see God’s character revealed through the Bible. It isn’t a story about you and me. The Bible is God’s Word to show us God! There are promises and truths that reveal God’s character, which draws us closer to God Himself. The more we read the Bible, the more we fall in love with the God of the Bible. He is love and justice. He is mercy and grace. God longs to reveal Himself to us, and He does so through the pages of the Bible.
4 Ways to Stay Motivated to Read the Bible
How do we stay motivated to read God’s Word? These are not steps to take one at a time, but shifts in our mindset. Reading the Bible is a habit, a discipline, that must be exercised. Just like an athlete needs to train to do the hard work, we need to train our minds to think the right things about Bible reading.
1. Don’t Read Based on Your Feelings
Feelings are not truth-tellers. Feeling motivated might never come. If you wait until you feel like reading your Bible, you may never read. Reading the Bible is a choice we make based on the truth we understand with our minds. Let’s get rid of the feelings and move past the lack of desire. Tell your heart that this is the right thing to do and push aside the feelings. Maybe you don’t feel qualified to read, or you struggle to understand. Don’t let those feelings keep you from reading.
2. Don’t Expect to Understand Everything the First Time
Many people give up Bible reading because they come to a place in the Bible that is hard to understand. Then they stop reading altogether. Don’t stop there! There are lots of options you can take when you come to a place you don’t understand. First, you can skip it and keep reading. Or you can stop and research that section of the Bible. BibleStudyTools.com is a great website to find all kinds of free resources for understanding the Bible. I also have a course called “Let’s Read the Bible,” that helps you understand the Bible - one book at a time! Just because you are stuck in a particular passage, don’t give up. Work through it.
3. Don’t Stop When You Miss a Day
Bible reading isn’t about a checklist, although having a Bible Reading Plan is a great idea! Bible reading is about connecting with God. If you are wondering where to start, here is one you can start with. Don’t worry if you missed a day (or two or ten!); God is not disappointed. The best part of Bible reading is you can start again today. Even if you’ve not read for a week, a month, or a year, you can start again. Today is a new day.
4. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time
If you wait for literal quiet to spend it with God, you might never find it. With five kids, ages 14-7, I rarely have a quiet moment. Don’t wait until you lay your head on the pillow each night, wishing you had more time. The reality is that no matter how much time you really have, you will spend it doing what you have made a priority in your life. So, make Him a priority. Make Bible reading a priority. This guide will help you plan your Bible reading, prayer, and quiet time.
Whether you’ve read your Bible for years or are just getting started, I want to leave you with this last truth: I’m not saying that just reading the Bible and studying automatically brings us the feelings we want to have, but it does change our mindset. It can help move our feelings into the right place.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet3
Sarah E. Frazer is a writer, Bible study mentor, wife of Jason, and mother of five. With a background in missionary work, Sarah encourages the weary woman to find peace in Jesus. She is a regular contributor to the Proverbs 31 First 5 app writing team as well as a featured writer for Crosswalk.com. Her favorite place to hang out is Instagram at @sarah_e_frazer.
LISTEN: Three Common Obstacles to Understanding the Bible
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