I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us.Charles Spurgeon
Time for New Year’s resolutions. Right?
Many of us make resolutions. Sometimes we stay focused and accomplish them, and sometimes we just ignore them after a few days, or weeks or months, and never complete them.
Along the same lines, as believers, we make statements such as “I am going to read the entire Bible this year.” But, how many of us would remain honest to our statement(s) and complete the reading? Few. That is because we lack focus and interest, motivation, reverence towards God’s Word, which then leads us to justify the reasons for not reading the Scripture!
There is no point in saying “I am a Christian, I love my God” and not act or show that love and reverence to Him. Christ said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14: 23 CSB). In John 14: 15 He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” Simple and straightforward statement by Christ. Further, in the passage, He also says, “The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words” (Jn 14:24). Again, simple and straightforward statement. The question is: How then can we keep His Word? By reading, by searching, by delving deep into His life-giving Word.
So, out of many unnecessary resolutions we make, I want to suggest one – KNOW God. You won’t regret the time you spent reading the Scripture, and at the same time, you will experience the joy that comes out of knowing God personally. The Apostle Peter, in his letter, encourages us to “know” God – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Pe 3:18). Peter did not say “know” the Lord, but “grow.” Particularly, in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. But, how can one “grow” without “knowing” first? To “grow,” we need to “know,” and to “know,” we need “read” the Scripture.
Listening to someone preach or teach is a good thing (if they rely on the Holy Spirit and do their part [prepare]). But, that is not everything. Because YOU do not do the work, someone is doing that work for you. In other words, they glean much from the Scripture then what you think you gain from hearing. For YOU to know the Lord, YOU must put the effort; you must read, read, and read the Scripture to know Him, and the “knowing” part of Christ is only going to happen when you start reading the Scripture for yourself!
So then, we come to a point at some time. “I want to read the Scripture, but I have so many things to do!” My response to this statement – put them aside. Yes, you can put them aside. Spend time with God “first” then go to the rest.
It is NOT that we do not have time to spend with God; it is NOT that we are incapable of setting some time for reading the Scripture; we are simply not willing to do it. That is the problem – the willingness, not the ability.
In other words, it is not that we are unable to prioritize knowing God, it is that we are willfully ignoring to know God.
Certain things then come to mind that might hinder us from knowing God.
Lack of Focus and Interest
What if you lack focus on reading the Scripture? There cannot be such a thing as lacking focus or interest when it comes to learning or reading God’s Word for believers. This is a serious problem. Evaluate your relationship with God. If you are genuinely in Christ, you would be eager to learn about Him.
Make reading God’s Word THE priority. No, not “a priority” out of many priorities, but THE priority. The Psalmist says that the happy one is the one who delights “in the Lord’s instruction,” and “meditates on it day and night” (Psa. 1: 2). The one who claims to be the Lord’s will not make any excuse.
Lack of Motivation
The lack of motivation relates to the lack of focus and interest. Partner with someone! This keeps you accountable to each other and also encourages one another to read the Scripture! The more people you have on your team, the better!
Reverence towards God’s Word
The lack of focus, interest, and motivation indicates no reverence for God’s Word. Reverence is a term sometimes used for “fear.” A believer who does not revere God’s Word does not fear God. Because God’s Word is equal to God. When one does not revere or fear God, then there is no true worship in him or her. One cannot worship God without fear and love for God (2 Chron. 6:31, 33; 1 Chron 28:9; 2 Chron. 19:9). And when there is no fear and love for God, then there is no appreciation for God’s Word.
There is no better way to know God apart from reading His Word because God revealed Himself to us through His Word. One can come to this point of making God’s Word a priority only when they revere God; only when they understand the depth of what Christ did for their sins.
So, what now?
Download this plan here, and start using it. I think you will benefit a lot from following it. The Bible Class Material website also have notes to follow along with your reading (for some price). Along with the reading plan, I would suggest reading one New Testament book for a whole month (repeatedly)! In this way, you will be acquainted with the New Testament.
If you wish not to follow this plan, that would be fine. I, sometimes, will read a whole book in one sitting, which gives me a better understanding of the book. At the same time, I also follow a plan.
My point is this: Make God your highest priority. Know God by reading His Word. When the time comes that your knowledge of God’s Word is put to the test, what would you answer? Be ready in and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2). A better question yet, What would you answer when God Himself asks you of how much you know about Him?
Think about it.
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soulG. K. Chesterton
May God bless you and help you understand His Word as you begin your new year with a desire to know Him more.