Happy 2016! What does the new year hold for you? Are you longing for something new, better, different? Are you tired of going through the motions of your life? I know that I am! If you feel that way too, then I would like to share a challenge that spoke to my heart and that I hope helps you too.
Spending time with God in His Word.
This isn’t just another task or meeting. This is an invitation to spend time with the King of the universe. No, it’s not an appointment with a personal trainer who might help you marginally reshape your body. This is God, who spoke the universe into existence, and who will speak to you personally if you open the Word and listen.
How’s that work? Open your Bible, and follow these three steps.
Step 1: Discipline
Here’s the spiritual workout plan: I challenge you to discipline yourself to spend thirty minutes in God’s Word every day for a month. During those thirty days, set aside the first half hour of every day—before you shower, before you drink a cup of coffee (or while). Commit to this: “I will not do anything else until I get thirty minutes with the Lord in His Word.”
At first, it’s going to feel like hard work, but it won’t stay that way for long. It’s like when you start working out on a treadmill with no fitness base—grueling at first, but over time it grows easier and eventually becomes addictive. Get up in the morning, and make yourself do it. Get a friend to hold you accountable. Go after this choice that will change your life forever: thirty minutes for thirty days. It starts with discipline.
Step 2: Desire
Over time, God’s Word will become your desire. No longer will reading the Bible just feel like a discipline. You will find that you look forward to it, that you can’t wait to spend time with the Lord. Like David, you’ll say, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). You’ll wonder how you lived without it. You’ll recognize how famished and impoverished your soul was and how difficult the Christian life felt on empty.
After thirty days of discipline and thirty days of growing desire, you’ll conclude, “I want it. I desire it. I hunger for it.” After these sixty days, you’ll say, “I chose God’s Word as my authority, and my life has been changed forever.”
Step 3: Delight
In the third, thirty-day step, you will begin to experience what David observed about the blessed person, whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). David didn’t tolerate God’s Word, the way we do brussels sprouts. He loved God’s Word. And we can get to that place too.
When you begin to delight in God’s Word, time spent in His Book will become your favorite time of your day, the most treasured moments of your life—alone with God, digging into His Word, being fed by His Spirit. And the effects will seep into every part of your day so that you will find God’s Word running in the background of your thoughts constantly.
King David experienced this delight. So did the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). So can you. Choose God’s Word. Start with discipline, and watch as discipline gives way to desire and grows into full-blown delight. This can be the defining choice of 2016 for you.