I don’t need to remind you but we are just weeks into a new year. We are all finding our rhythm in our new 2019 goals and, at the same time, I am pleased to tell you that I have just completed a major goal that I set for myself last year.
Before I tell you what I’ve achieved you need to know that I have about a 65% success rate in accomplishing any goal I set for myself. I realize if I were to give myself a grade 65% would be a D. But I sit here comfortably with my D feeling like I got an A simply because I accomplished the task. My goal was to read the entire Bible in 90 days AND I DID IT! I read from Genesis to Revelation, cover to cover, not missing a day for the last 90 days and I loved it! (In case you are wondering there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, which averages out to be about 13.2 chapters a day.)
I am tell you this not so that you will be impressed with what I’ve done but to share with you what I learned while reading the Bible in 90 days. And I need to reflect on the experience for myself, so that I can continue learning and growing the next time around. (By the way I’ve started my second 90 day round of Bible reading).
1. Nothing surpasses the Word of God.
There are no substitutes for the word of God. No devotional, spiritual blog post, newsletter article, book, or podcast even comes close to God’s actual word. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by people that they read God’s word by reading the devotional Jesus Calling. Great book but not the actual thing. The image that comes to mind is the difference between a child’s relationship with a wet nurse compared to her own mother. She can receive some nourishment but nothing compares to the sustaining relationship of a child to her mother.
2. Life issues seemed to fall into their rightful place.
It’s not that my life became easy or all my problems went away but they did not have the heavy punch that they once did. In fact, during the last 90 days I faced some of the most substantial challenges I’ve had in a while but being grounded in the word of God helped me approach them from a different perspective. Instead of fear and intimidation I was able to face those problems with a greater sense of confidence from a firmer foundation.
3. God is a God who provides MULTIPLE chances for people to ask for forgiveness and live in a relationship with him.
Many of us feel that there is a limited supply of God’s forgiveness and believe that we’ve overused it or done something catastrophically unforgivable. In reading the Scriptures I saw that time and time again God desired his people to repent and turn away from their sin to follow him. His desire is always for us to ask for forgiveness and come back to our relationship with him.
4. The biggest takeaway for me was to “lead with your ears in all that you do.”
This seems odd but there is something powerful about listening to the word of God. I’ve read through the Bible several times before in my life, but this is the first time I ever listened to the Bible all the way through. Every morning I would listen to the Bible as I read along. It was like reading it twice. This process changed my life!
One of my greatest desires as a Christ follower is to be able to listen to God, to listen to those subtle nudges, those quiet thoughts you notice in the midst of the very loud world we live in. Having spent 90 consecutive days hearing his word has taught me to lead with my hearing and not by my sight, or intuition or cognitive reasoning. I am still learning, but the best illustration I can give is answering the phone and recognizing a familiar voice before the caller identifies himself. We all do this naturally with the people we know very well. This experience has changed how I read the Bible and listen for God—he’s a dear friend rather than a frequent acquaintance.
My encouragement to you is just to start reading the Bible. It’s that simple! It does not have to be the entire Bible in 90 days. Don’t read it for in-depth study (that will come later). Don’t read just your favorite parts but read the entire book. You don’t have to understand everything you read but just start reading. Read or listen just to get familiar with God who desires a relationship with you. It will change your life.
One upcoming opportunity to read the Bible more closely is the Sermon on the Mount Community Group that will be meeting from 8-8:45 am on Thursday mornings. Visit our groups pages to register.