Investing Time in Reading God’s Word
Revive Our Hearts, a great ministry that my daughters and a number of our ministry staff have benefited from, recently posted a link on Facebook to this two-minute video about finding time to read your Bible.
The fact is, you and I will become the product of what we choose to delight in and meditate upon. Psalm 1 says: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
We all meditate, and we’re all shaped by the object of our meditation. We take our attitudinal and behavioral cues from it. This week, will I be shaped by situation comedies, soap operas, and newspapers, or will I be shaped by Isaiah, Luke, A. W. Tozer, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon? It depends on how I choose to spend my time.
Psalm 1 says the one who continually meditates on God’s Word “is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.” Trees don’t choose where to place themselves, but we do. We determine what our sources of nourishment will be, which in turn determine whether we bear fruit or wither.
The key to spirituality is the development of little habits, such as Bible reading and memorization and prayer. In putting one foot in front of the other day after day, we become the kind of person who grows and endures rather than withers and dies.
Consider again Psalm 1. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” In each case, there is a physical action— walk, stand, sit. To meditate on the Word involves opening it with our hands, looking at it with our eyes, or speaking it with our lips.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time” (Eph. 5:15–16). Why not redeem two hours of your day that you would have spent on television, newspaper, video games, phone, working overtime, or hobbies? Change your habits. Spend one hour meditating on and/or memorizing Scripture. Spend the other hour reading a great book. Share what you’re learning with your spouse and children, or a friend.
Listen to Scripture and audio books and praise music while you fold clothes, pull weeds, or drive. Say no to talk radio or sports radio, not because they’re bad but because you have something better to do. Fast from television, radio, and the Internet for a week. Discover how much more time you have. Redeem that time by establishing new habits of cultivating your inner life and learning to abide in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
As John Piper shared in this post challenging readers to dive into God’s word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. Those are the words of Jesus (Matthew 4:4). Let’s take them seriously and live on the word every day in 2012.”
Lord, take us deep into your Word. Let us not be content with empty entertainment and diversions to numb our pain. Your Word doesn’t numb us; instead it makes us alive, energizes us, strengthens and sustains us, and comforts us with truth. It confronts sin in our lives, encourages our obedience, and gives us delight in you. Who but the devil and sin itself would distract us from such treasure? Change our habits of leisure, Lord. Prompt us to abandon entertainment that scorns and violates your Word, to listen to music that celebrates your Word, and to embrace great Scripture-saturated books that lead us to you and your Word. Remind us that your Word is the source of correction, training, eternal perspective, and joyful rest from weariness and sorrow.