We are approaching the end of the year and it is a good time of reflection for where we have been and where we are going. During the month of December I always like to find some time when I can look forward to the next year and to set goals both personally and professionally. I have heard it said that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.
As I look back at this past year and consider the goals which I had set, I realized that I did not achieve every single goal I had established, but I know that I accomplished more than I would have if I had not set any of those goals. I might have came up a little short of where I had been aiming, but I made it further than I would have otherwise.
One of my big goals virtually every year is to read through the Bible. This is something I will likely accomplish once again this year as I just began the book of Revelation today. It is something that comes easily to me now, but when I first established that as a goal several years back, it was not so easy. It was a process of trial and error before I was able to push through. Finally, over the course of several years I was able to accomplish that goal. So what I want to say to you is don’t give up. If you failed last year, whatever your goal was, learn from your mistakes. Adjust accordingly and go for it.
A couple of adjustments that helped me to read through the Bible in a year included the following.
I didn’t try to read it from cover to cover. The first few times I tried this I failed miserably when I got to Leviticus.
I started to use a Bible reading plan. I now use The One-Year Bible Reading Plan. It can be found at oneyearbibleonline.org
I didn’t try to catch up. If you are like me, with a type A personality, you get stuck on reading every single word. If you get a couple of days behind you get frustrated considering the mountain you need to climb to catch back up. If you get too far behind, just skip ahead. Being in God’s word is to be a life long endeavor, not a one year thing. If you miss something this year, you will come back to it next year. Keep in mind the real goal here is not reading through our Bibles. The goal is to be in God’s Word and to hear him speak.
I started early. We are midway through December now. I remember the first time I was successful reading through the Bible, I started during the middle of December. This gave me the opportunity to get behind without getting behind. I had three weeks extra weeks built into my schedule just in case I needed them. And the first time I accomplished the goal, I made use of all three of those extra weeks.
I made use of technology. At the time I was using a Palm Pilot. I found there were times in the day when I could do some reading, but I didn’t have a Bible on me. But I always had my Palm Pilot and on my Palm Pilot was a Bible. This last year, I bought “The One Year Bible” on Kindle. Now I can read the Bible wherever I am at on my iPhone or computer. So I got that few extra minutes in the checkout line or stuck at the train tracks on LaFox Rd., it is a good time to get some reading done.
What works for me, will not necessarily work for you. Some people find that it works best for them to do it the same time every day. This is not something that works for me. I do my devotional time at different times each day. But it may be something for you to establish the habit.
Something else you might try is that instead of trying to read the whole Bible in a year, work to read through the New Testament in a year. Then next year set a goal to read through the Old Testament. So instead of reading through the Bible in a year, you will have read through the Bible over the course of two years.
You might consider partnering with someone else. It is easy to drop a commitment if you don’t tell anyone about it. But if you share it with someone, you will have someone else to keep you accountable. You will not want to let that other person down. Even better find an accountability partner who will join you in the challenge.
If you use a daily planner, set it on your to-do list. For me I have my daily devotion as the number 1 task to accomplish on my daily to-do list. When I check it off, it automatically reloads for the next day.
In the end, it is not about reading through the Bible. It is about spending time with God. It is about hearing his Word. It is about being sustained with daily bread. Imagine if you only ate once a week. You would be malnourished. That is what it is like if the only time we are exposed to the Word is on a Sunday morning. We will be spiritually malnourished.
When you open the Word ask, “what is God saying to me?” Ask, “what would God have me with what I have read?” We need to read for more than just information, but for transformation. We read to hear God speak into our lives.
So as we approach this new year, I would like you to consider joining me in reading through the challenge of reading through the Bible. You might say that you don’t have the time. Consider then how much time you spend watching TV or on Facebook or reading other books. There are lots of other activities in life we make time for. And of all the activities we make time for, there may be no more important one than this one.
So, if you are in let me know and have a great week!