new perspectives about Bible reading
What it all comes down to, is choosing to remember and choosing to do it. Bible reading. Just do it. And it’s a choice and decision every time. The choices we make determine the people we become.
As this new year of 2011 gets into full swing, I hear this talk from someone who’s read the Bible every day for 25 years, married to someone who’s read the Bible every day for 37 years, and mentions someone who read the Bible through in 20 days. Daunting. Not as inspiring to me as it was intended.
I have a confession. I haven’t had a streak or habit like that. And I have lots of (not so good) reasons for not reading the Bible every day. Reasons like:
I’m not a predictable creature of routines. I’m way better at being inconsistent and unpredictable.
I haven’t made a commitment like that, that 1st decision to do something every day, like Bible reading. There’s some wisdom to counting the cost before making a commitment. Failing to come through on commitment isn’t a good thing. I just don’t see myself doing a daily commitment. (There are other kinds of commitments, like being married, that was a decision and action that happened one day in the past, that continues to have consequence, but those don’t require a daily choice to do something to keep it.)
I know people who (say they) read the Bible every day or have a daily devotional life. And I’ll take them at their word on that. But their lives don’t show much patience nor kindness nor life change. Some even turn out to have scandalous lives of hypocrisy. Doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I don’t want to be like that. Perspective: that’s their problem. It don’t have to be like that. I don’t have to be that guy.
I don’t want Bible reading to be the kind of habit or routine where it becomes auto-pilot and disengages my heart & soul. Perspective: just because I’m doing something daily doesn’t mean it has to be disengaging.
I don’t want Bible reading to be an overspiritualized escape from the real world. It’s too easy for Bible reading to reinforce my biases and self-talk and cultural lenses. Perspective: I can believe by faith that God’s Spirit can break through my echo chamber and inspire new insights & thoughts to change me. And, reading & discussing Bible in community with others can break my self-talk too.
I blog all this to share honestly what I wrestle with. I’m way imperfect and don’t have it together. I think it can be a good thing to let one’s flaws and warts be shown rather than hidden. I think honesty is way more inspiring when it’s not an excuse for “that’s just the way I am” and it’s a confession of a desire for a turning point in life and even a humble need for help.
Sometime between Christmas and the New Year, I felt my heart changed. I give God credit for changing my heart to choose Bible reading in 2011. I got a couple days head start on a plan called the Bible in 90 Days. Didn’t make it to day 3. Not sticking that plan.
I’m hopeful that I’ll keep making progress in my Bible reading. All it takes is making that choice every day. Will update you in a month or two with how it goes.