When Bible reading’s a chore.
I used to rush through my Bible reading like a chore. When I remembered it.
It took many years for it to become enough of a true habit to bring me joy—consistently. The good news is that after many years of reading my Bible—even when I sometimes didn’t feel like it—this became a time I now really look forward to. It also became a habit I could pass on to my kids.
Joe Stowell writes in “Sweeter than Honey” that he reads his Bible until he finds something the Lord is telling him for that day. That seemed like a great idea but a little impractical with the many things in my life. Until I tried it.
When I first read of Stowell’s practice, I was reading Leviticus. The next morning I skeptically said to God as I began, “Good luck, Lord. I’m in Leviticus.”
God amazed me. The text I was reading detailed all of God’s requirements for the regalia of Aaron as God’s new high priest. It suddenly hit me that Aaron was between 85 and 90 years old when he began the career that defined his life.
That realization was extremely relevant to me. I was beginning a new phase of life, after forced early retirement from a job I loved.
I have been a teacher my whole life. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching. Being forced to leave my college during a downsizing caused me great grief. And the state of the academic market made me realize my full-time teaching days are over.
I knew I should not think of the past years as the best years of my life. But it was tempting.
God encouraged me through this text to see the enormous possibilities of how he will bless me and use me in the years ahead. If I am looking to him. Reading my Bible regularly is a huge part of this. This blessing came through my reading of Leviticus. Go figure.
What do you do when Bible reading’s a chore?
Try asking God to speak a meaningful word to you for the day through your Bible reading.
Think of the times God has given you delight through his Word. Were they times in a Bible study, in a worship service, with friends, or alone during a time of deep struggle of trying to find God’s will? Or sharing Bible stories with your kids?
Sometimes it’s tempting to think that we only need the Bible during special times or that he only speaks to us through it occasionally. But what if every day we honestly ask him to speak a word to us that day? What could happen if we listen for that?
My experiences are not usually as dramatic as on that jolting day in Leviticus. But I have found much more consistent daily encouragement since I started looking for it.
When Bible reading’s a chore, maybe we need to ask God how to change that for us.