“Cock a doodle doo,” the sound startled me in my sleep. Is it really morning already? It’s pitch black outside… I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes… Next thing I knew my phone was ringing. It was my friend calling to see if I was up and spending time in the word.
“Hello!” I tried to sound cheery and awake.
“Hey, are you up? I kept texting you, but you didn’t respond so I thought I’d call,” she was definitely too happy to be awake that early!
“Oh. The kids must have played with my ringer. I didn’t hear the text,” I responded. When I got off the phone and saw what time it was I realized I had actually fallen asleep again!
“Well Jesus is waiting for you,” she said in a matter of fact tone before she hung up the phone.
Wow! Jesus is waiting for me? The creator of the entire universe is waiting to talk to me? How can that be? My heart was delighted, and I jumped out of bed to get a start on my day. How quickly I had forgotten that I wasn’t just waking up early for the sake of it, but I was getting up early to hear from GOD! I was getting up early to build a relationship with HIM! It wasn’t to check off my daily reading list, but to get to know Him more intimately.
You see in 2011, I focused on reading the Bible in a Year and—although I’m about four weeks behind—it has been an incredible blessing. I always felt jealous of the people who seemed to naturally be in love with God. They don’t just love Him because he is God, but they are IN LOVE with Him like they know who HE IS! I wanted that! I wanted to be passionately in love with the Creator of the world. Not just because of what He did for me, but because of who He is… the problem was that I really didn’t know God. Don’t get me wrong, I knew a lot of stories about Him, but I didn’t really know Him.
Spending time in His Word everyday has completely changed my relationship with Jesus. Instead of just reading to learn, I focused on seeing what God revealed about Himself through every story. As I read through the Old Testament, I realized that God really does choose us despite ourselves. I see the way He is patient and loving, and even there I can see his plan for redemption unfolding. In the New Testament, I can see that He is trustworthy as He fulfills all of His promises in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. He reveals Himself as a God who doesn’t just care about our salvation, but also the details of our sanctification. He doesn’t just save us from the hell we deserve, but He gives to us abundantly and beyond measure. It’s hard not to fall in love with Him- He’s really irresistible! I can love Him more and more, because I see how much He loves me (1 John 4:19).
If you want to love God in a deeper way, then get to know Him! If you are like me, then you’ve pledged to read the Bible in a year about a million times before, but don’t give up this time. Even if you get behind, stick with it, but don’t read to check off your task for the day., read because the Creator of the universe wants to speak to you! Clearly I lost sight of this many times (about 28 times since that’s how far behind I am), but God is so gracious. It’s not about my faithfulness, but His faithfulness. Even if I miss a day, He is there waiting to speak with me. And regardless of your failed attempts to spend time in His Word every day, He is waiting for you too.
Tips for being Successful in your Reading Plan:
Set aside a specific time to read!
- It’s not mandatory that you read in the morning, but choose a time each day that you will spend time both reading and praying!
- Have a BACK UP Plan
- If you have kids, then you know how quickly your plans can be derailed, so have a backup plan for days you don’t get to read during your usual time. For example, I get up at 6 am to read, but if I miss that time, then I read during my children’s nap time
Have a Reading plan
- You don’t have to read the entire Bible Every year, but plan ahead. Choose a logical reading plan. You can read a book or read through the New Testament.
- Pray First
- Everyone can read God’s Word, but not everyone’s heart will receive God’s Word. Unfortunately there are many scholars who know the Bible, but don’t know Jesus! Begin your time by praising God and asking Him to reveal His Word to you (not some weird hidden meanings, but in a way that convicts you of your own sin and moves you to repentance).
- Whether it’s your husband or a friend, an accountability partner is a great tool for spending time in God’s word. Lately, I’ve been struggling to wake up, so I have a friend who text messages me (calls if I don’t respond) to make sure I’m awake.
HE IS FAITHFUL
- Most important: Remember that God is faithful even when we are faithless! Only He can give you a love and passion for His Word! You aren’t earning favor by reading every day, so don’t do it to impress Him or others. If you miss a day, just start the next day where you left off!