Keeping up any daily habit is difficult, especially if you have little ones at home. We build in a routine and then the unforeseen happens like someone gets ill or the children’s needs change. This can often be the challenge with our daily Bible reading. Making space to have some quality time with the Bible is hard at times. However, the cost is far outweighed by the benefits – God’s Word fills us for each day. It feeds us and provides nourishment that fuels us for every aspect of our lives. The Bible is the one thing we need more than anything every day.
I started a diet in January. I have dieted before and not always seen much success, but I was trying a new scheme this time and was very enthusiastic at the beginning. The enthusiasm lasted about a fortnight! After two weeks the cracks were starting to show, I had succumbed to temptation more than a couple of times and therefore my will was broken. I had given in, the feeling that the diet was pointless and was making me miserable had eclipsed the desire to lose the few pounds needed to flatten my stomach.
I apologise to anyone who is succeeding at their diet for my lack of will-power! The new routine of eating differently just hadn’t worked for me and I felt miserable about denying myself my favourite treats. So I have sunk back into my old habits and am enjoying every bit of it! Thankfully, my wardrobe is built around disguising the wobble around my waist line!
Dieting takes discipline. Performing an exercise routine takes discipline. I exercise out of necessity. I walk up to an hour and a half daily to take my children to and from school three times at the moment. It is necessary to take the children to school and therefore the exercise is a side benefit rather than the only purpose for the walking. It becomes so much easier to stick to when there is a clear necessity. I could take the car and do in bad weather, but most of the time the sacrifice seems a small step to put on the walking shoes rather than pick up the car keys. Small steps to form any kind of discipline is key to making it become part of your natural habit and daily routine.
The balance between our feelings and our will is also an essential part of the disciplined life. We may not always feel like reading the Bible. The sad fact is that it’s not always where our heart is. The things that we like doing are easy to do every day – checking Facebook, watching TV, sitting down with a coffee and a magazine. Yet, sometimes reading the Bible just doesn’t have the same appeal. The diet may have been a useful way to lose my muffin top over my jeans but my heart just wasn’t in it – it wasn’t as important to me as enjoying my favourite foods. Yet, reading the Bible daily is as important as eating our (low-calorie!?) meals.
The LORD is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.
I have sought Your favour with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.
I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
The LORD is my portion – the word used here for portion is cheleq and was often used in relation to an inheritance. An inheritance was very important to family life in ancient times. Everything belonging to the family – land, livestock and property was handed down through the generations and was key to the well-being of the offspring receiving the inheritance. Their portion determined how well they would be able to support their family – it was key to their survival.
An important example of how the word portion was used in relation to something bestowed by God to His people was the daily amount of manna God provided them in the desert in Exodus 16. Each person and family would receive their portion of manna to eat. Each portion would be all that they would need for that day – no more, no less. Those that tried to store up their manna found that it would perish over night. All of their needs were provided for within that one portion every day.
God is our portion – He is all I need for each day, no more, no less. If we treat His Word to us as the source of the nutrition and sustenance we need for each day then the discipline of daily Bible reading becomes a necessity which we would no more miss than the food we need to eat.
But this involves a choice. We have to choose to take the time to read the Bible, get in touch with God through it and be prepared to apply what we read to our daily living. We have to turn our feet towards God’s testimonies and walk in dependence on Him, the nourishment we can receive from the Bible and the sustenance to strengthen us for whatever we may face. If we approach the discipline of daily Bible reading as something necessary to us, which outweighs the feelings that we would rather be doing something else with our time, we will see a change in our heart and within a short space of time we will want to turn to our Bible more than anything else in our day.
If you would like to form a daily Bible reading habit you may want to check out the 31 – Help to develop a good quiet time habit in a month page of the Essential Thing Devotions website.
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Photo used with permission by Suada Isaki courtesy of Stock.Xchng