One of the questions we chairs ask our C12 Group members each month in our one on one coaching sessions is “How’s your personal walk?” In other words, are you reading the Bible and praying on a regular basis (ideally daily)?
Fortunately, this is a habit that I was taught and developed after becoming a Christ follower in my 30’s. I read a portion of the Bible on a daily basis. The first thing I did after I bought my first Bible, a New International Version (NIV) Study Bible, was read through the New Testament. It took me about a year. Then I read through the whole Bible. The first time I did that it took me close to three years. Since then I’ve read the New Testament a few more times and the Old Testament one more time in its entirety. One effective way was using a New Living Translation (NLT) Two Year Bible, which provided the Bible broken into daily readings of an Old Testament passage, a portion of Psalms, a portion of Proverbs and a New Testament passage.
With the advent of the Youversion.com (www.bible.com) app from LifeChurch.tv (www.lifechurch.tv) I’ve taken advantage of online reading plans. Last year I used the Project 3:45+ plan. It’s a New Testament in one year reading plan “Plus” adding a Psalm or Proverb every day and selected readings from the Old Testament five days per week. This year I’ve been doing shorter plans, sometimes two at a time, for variety and content. I’ve completed a 30 day Daily Devotions with Greg Laurie (one of my favorite Bible teachers), My Utmost for His Highest (30 days of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals), and The Art of Celebration (7 days of short passages, a devotional and a music video from Rend Collective). Currently I am in an 89 day plan from LCBC Church called Major Beliefs. It’s one chapter a day, sharing major beliefs from the Bible.
One of the features of the Youversion.com app I use and enjoy is the highlighting feature. You can use different colors to highlight and all of your highlighting is synchronized across your devices within your account. I use a different color each year, highlighting while I am reading at home and while listening to teaching at church.
Why is this habit so important to me? If you proclaim that you are following someone’s teaching, how can you effectively do that without reading that teaching? Jesus words to us are printed in the Bible, and since I haven’t memorized every single one of his words, I need to read them on a continual basis. We need to read the entire Bible because it lays out the story of how God created us, how we turned from Him repeatedly and how He has given us a way to come back into a relationship with Him, not only in this life, but for all of eternity. The Bible is also how God speaks to me personally. It’s how I receive His instructions to live my life as a Christ follower, husband, father, grandfather and business owner. It’s how He encourages me when I need it, demonstrating His promises. We can’t hear God audibly speaking to us, so reading His Word on a daily basis is the best way to engage in conversation. We speak to Him through prayer and He speaks to us through the Bible. That’s why I try to do both together on a daily basis.
Here are some passages from His Word attesting to what I have written.
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. Psalms 119:1-2 NLT
Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Proverbs 30:5
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
What impact has it had on my life? Here are some of the changes in my life before choosing to actively follow Christ and after.
|I was lord of my life (selfish).||Jesus Christ is Lord of my life (submitting servant).|
|Purpose of work was to make money.||Purpose of work is to build God’s kingdom.|
|Money was only used to buy stuff.||Money is used to fund ministry and help the poor.|
|I didn’t give of my time to anyone or any organization.||I serve on boards, in the community and go on mission trips abroad.|
|Hoped I was going to Heaven (not sure what it was or if I was good enough)||Sure I’m going to Heaven (that’s in God’s presence for eternity and I’m not good enough, but Jesus paid my way in)|
I don’t share these to trumpet how good I am, I share them to show the transformation that Christ makes in a person and how the Bible helps to live it out. If you aren’t reading the Bible every day, you are missing an opportunity for God to speak to you every day, transforming you a little bit at a time.