Another morning I fumble my way to the coffee pot. I plopped myself down on the couch and grabbed my prayer journal. I didn’t have much to say or much to pray about. My mind felt fuzzy and distracted from all that was happening around me. I had been sick for days, my body was weak and weary, but I talked myself into pushing through and reading my Bible study chapters for the day, so I could put a checkmark that it was completed. One less thing on my list and one less thing on my mind for the day.
Or was it? It’s what I am supposed to do, or I would surely fall behind on my Bible Study.
Years before, when I chose not to pick up my Bible at all, I didn’t feel the need to complete the task. When the Lord tugged my heart to open His Word finally, it wasn’t about the checkmark; it was about hearing from Him. Yet, years passed, and here I am. I was sitting in the same spot that I had before when a Liar came prowling into my sacred space and turned my time with the Father into an obligation rather than a joy.
It happened without me noticing until it was too late.
Our time in our Bibles is a tool to change our hearts, not a task to make us achieve more.
My quiet time needed new boundaries and new renewed focus. Not for the sake of completing something else but for the sake of my sanctification. Time to allow the very words of God to transform my tired heart into something that glorifies my Father in Heaven and His glorious Kingdom. Not to make my name great.
When I allow the words to prick my heart and renew my mind, I find that He calls me to more. Not more hustle, not more material things, not more tasks, but more abundance and joy in my Savior. He wants me to rely on the Holy Spirit, who teaches and gives the strength and wisdom to live in this world.
We can get wrapped up in the semantics:
- It needs to be at the same time every morning.
- I need to read so many passages for my time to be productive.
- I need to read the entire Bible in a year, or I am not a good Christian.
- My house needs to be quiet for me to spend time with God.
While none of these are bad things, but if they become the focus of our morning time with Jesus, then we have missed the point. Legalistic rules will not make us more holy or draw us closer to Christ.
Checking boxes without checking the state of our hearts will leave us unchanged.
This commitment we make to sit down and read God’s Word has a great purpose. We are learning who God is and his great love story that He has displayed for us through His Son Jesus.
You see, Paul told Timothy about the power of God’s Word in a letter. He told Timothy that the very words of God are “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)
The Scriptures are not there for us to read in order to prove ourselves worthy, to check a box, or make us look like a better Christian. They are there for our growth, our benefit, and our correction. The very words of God breathed out are our guardrails for our life.
So back to that morning on the couch.
I had pushed myself into believing that I would fail God if my Bible study time with Him didn’t go according to plan, and obviously falling behind on my reading plan made me a weak believer. I made myself believe that it was about the action and completing the task rather than allowing God to meet me in the struggles I was facing that morning and allowing Him to step into my weakness right then.
When I enter the gates of Heaven I will not be asked how many times I read through the Bible in a year. I will not be criticized for missing a few days on the reading plan. But what will matter is how the words on the pages changed my heart and affected my actions.
No need to check a box, today friend, open the Word, and let Him change you instead.
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