I’ve had a busy few days, so busy that I’ve neglected my chronological Bible reading plan. Yesterday and today I’ve been on catch-up, trying to catch up to where I should be. So far, I’m on February 1, so only a few more chapters and I’ll be up to date. Apologies to any of you who wanted to believe that a pastor is infallibly consistent with his Bible plan.
What I noticed yesterday was that as I read, I wanted to read more. The inverse is also true. When I stop reading the Bible, my appetite for it diminishes. Whichever direction I go, the impetus seems to want to take me further – either towards reading less/none, or more.
I think I first noticed this when I was on a missions trip to Yugoslavia in about 1989. We had a lot of time on the beach and campsite and I set a goal of trying to read a book of the Bible for every day of the three weeks we would be there. On the whole I succeeded (Isaiah took 3 days). And I found that I hungered for more of the word of God.
Recently I’ve started being more consistent with physical exercise and I’m starting to notice that when I don’t go to the gym, I miss it. My muscles are craving the stretching and effort that the gym requires. But I’m also sure that it would only take a few days of not going, for my body to slacken back to not caring or desiring it.
The lesson from all this is simple: whichever direction you choose to go, whether for health, or spiritual vibrancy, the impetus will keep you going in the same direction. Read the Word, and you will desire to read more. Exercise and you’ll want more. But slacken off, and your new normal, which does nothing to contribute to your physical and spiritual health, will become dominant.
It’s a choice. And it’s one too important to leave to chance. That’s why, with my Bible reading, I have chosen a plan from Youversion.com to follow – and if I set it up right, it will prompt me to read, and even allow me to be accountable to others. I know myself well enough that if I relegate something so important to “when I feel like it” then it probably won’t happen. It needs to become both a pattern and a discipline in my life.
How about you? What do you consider so important that you’ve created a system or habit around it? Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter so we can inspire and urge one another on.
Glyn Norman is Lead Pastor of Central Christian Church in San Jose, and Author of:
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