By Author & Blogger Tim Challies
It happens to all of us at one time or another. There are times when we wake up eager to get into God’s Word, when our times in the Bible are an absolute joy and thrill. We hope, we wish, we pray that these times will never end. But they do. At times we wake up with no desire to open the Word. We find to our sorrow that the joy and thrill have given way to cold duty. I know this all too well. With September here and fall and winter laid out before us, perhaps this is the time to spark that lukewarm devotional life. Here are a few suggestions.
Ditch Your Plan
Bible-reading plans can be a tremendous aid in telling us what to read each day and in keeping us on track in actually reading it. The desire to finish the plan combined with the sense of personal failure that comes with abandoning it can be enough to keep us going. Yet often we fall behind in those plans and the discouragement of being a day, then a week, then a month behind paralyzes us into inaction. If that’s the case for you, why don’t you ditch your plan? Ditch it without shame, without that sense of failure, and do something different instead. Why not begin to read a Psalm a day, or a chapter of one of the gospels? Find a list of 100 key Scripture passages and focus on them. Pick a short book like Colossians or Titus and read it every day for a month. What and how much you read matters a lot less than the simple fact that you read something and meditate on it.
Start a Plan
Sometimes a plan is the problem and sometimes a plan is the solution. If your reading is infrequent and unstructured, why don’t you think about finding and following a plan? While we typically think of annual plans that begin in January, there are also great plans that run for weeks or months. A three- or four-month plan may be just the thing to get you through to the end of the year. If Bible-reading is an especially big struggle for you, try a 5-day-per-week plan that allows you a couple of catch-up days each week. Bible.com can get you started with a whole list of options. The ReadingPlan app has been my companion all year long and I’ve grown to love it!