This post marks the start of a new thing for my blog. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time traveling various roads in Southeast Arkansas. There are many, many churches in Southeast Arkansas; this part of the country is not called the Bible Belt without good reason. Along with many, many churches come many, many church signs. Some are great, some are not so great. But most of them make us think things; that is why people post them.
I have lots of thoughts; my thoughts usually need to be articulated. I have lots to say, just ask anybody who knows me! So, here we go as I share with readers some of the thoughts I think about various church signs. I hope you enjoy the ride and perhaps even find it useful.
How does God feel about Bible reading? Well, here are a few verses which place it pretty high on God’s priority list for Christian lives:
2 Timothy 3:16,17 God Himself literally “breathed out” every single word of Scripture and it is the only guide to faith we need.
Psalm 119:160 God’s Word is true and will last forever.
Matthew 4:4 God’s word is necessary for life, more so than literal bread.
Joshua 1:8 One of the greatest men of the Bible teaches us that if we meditate on God’s Word day and night, we will be rewarded.
2 Timothy 2:15 Here we are simply commanded to study God’s Word and why.
There are many, many more; in combination they clearly prove that God considers the daily reading, studying and meditating on His Word as something He wants Christians to do. To even try to debate that point would be beyond ludicrous, to tell the truth. So, everything in this post is written from that perspective. Why do I say that? Well, because some of what I say might seem to be inflexible to some readers; however, God’s own word teaches that He is pretty inflexible on that point Himself. Agreeing with God on areas He considers important is good policy, frankly.
So, then, just what is our problem? Here is some interesting data:
A couple of years ago, LifeWay Research released a study with some interesting findings.
The survey found 90 percent of churchgoers agree “I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” and 59 percent agree with the statement: “Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths.” While the majority agree with both statements, there is a significant difference in the strength of agreement. Nearly two-thirds of churchgoers (64 percent) strongly agree with the first statement, but only 20 percent strongly agree with the second.
However, when asked how often they personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible, a similar number respond “Every Day” (19 percent) as respond “Rarely/Never” (18 percent). A quarter indicate they read the Bible a few times a week. Fourteen percent say they read the Bible “Once a Week” and another 22 percent say “Once a Month” or “A Few Times a Month.” See the article here.
Here is some date from the American Bible Society:
If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week). Read the article here.
So, again I ask, what’s our problem? We know what the problem is; I should have asked: What’s our excuse? Today, we are only talking about the, “I don’t have time” excuse. Here are some strategies that might be of some use for those readers really interested in getting with God’s program of daily time in His Word. For those NOT really interested, just move along I guess, as this won’t apply to you.
Commit to it. Our walk of faith is not accidental; it must be intentional. Remember Daniel? Early in his life Daniel and some friends were faced with a test of their faith. Most Christians know the story of Daniel and his friends refusing to eat the King’s meat. Daniel 1:8 tells us that Daniel “purposed in his heart” not to eat the meat offered by The King. The application here is that, for anything we want to accomplish for and through God, we still have to make an intentional decision to actually do it. Any talk of some daily study plan is irrelevant if we aren’t committed to doing it.
Make choices. The truth is, there are only 24 hours in a day; that is just a fact and a reality. We all make choices daily about the things we get to do or do not get to do. In some cases, it may be as simple as deciding which TV show to watch. We can’t watch two at once, so we choose. Do we go to this party or that party? The list goes on and on. We choose to not do things because of time every single day.
How do we decide? We decide based on what is important to us; we decide on based on what matters to us; we decide based on what will bring us the most payoff and once again the list goes on and on. Because we have committed to some things, choosing them becomes quite easy. The same is true for daily Bible study; if we commit to it, then we have to make the choice of what NOT to do to make room for it.
Pick a time; make it a habit. How many things do we have a time assigned at which we do it? Once again, television comes to mind. I know people who would no more miss Monday Night Football than they would skip eating for a week. What about work? Most of us have a particular time we have to report in. The point is, we have a time at which we do those things. That time belongs to those things, and because of that we do them. They are habits.
The time doesn’t matter; pick what works. But do pick, and assign that time and don’t allow another thing to infringe or take that time. I like really early in the morning. It’s all mine, as nobody else is awake then. It’s quiet, as nobody else is awake then. It also happens to be the time of day when I am freshest and most able to concentrate. It is my most effective time of the day, and I feel God deserves my best time. And that’s not just my opinion, I got it from God, who has made many references to us giving Him our firstfruits in His Word. Get a Concordance and check out firstfruits if you don’t believe me.
Now, let’s sum up. The sign said, “If you’re too busy to read the Bible, you’re too busy.” That is simply true and non negotiable. I say non negotiable because that is how God sees it, and that seals it. I can cook up justification otherwise until the day ends, and I would simply be wrong. And guess what? If you do that, you are wrong as well.
So, commit to it, make choices, pick your time and begin a new habit that I promise will transform your Christian walk.