What if I told you that in 15-minutes a day, you could dramatically change the direction of your life? Would you be interested?
How about if I told you about a simple practice that, if diligently applied, could help you become wiser, calmer, and more focused on the things that really matter? Would you give it a try?
“What’s the secret?” You ask?
The discipline of daily Bible reading.
I know it sounds simple, and I know it seems obvious. Even so, it is a discipline that is more often honored in the breach than in the practice. We start out strong in a discipline and then the things of life get in the way. One rushed morning throws us off our routine; we go on vacation and forget our Bible; we start an ambitious reading plan and quickly become discouraged. I know. I’ve been there too. It’s perfectly human to have fallen out of a discipline.
Daily Bible reading has great value, though, and we neglect it to our spiritual peril. Bible reading shapes our outlook on the world – God uses His word to give us an eternal perspective on what is and isn’t valuable. Through His word, God teaches us important things about human nature. He teaches us about joy, peace, and comfort; and He tells us how to handle sorrow, pain, and suffering.
Reading the Bible roots us in the great truths of human existence: Jesus saves us, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, God the Father has prepared a place for us to serve.
Perhaps you’re having trouble getting into a daily Bible reading habit. That’s why devotional guides help. These guides usually give a Bible reading and a brief reflection for each day. The readings and reflections are short enough that you can do them in 15 minutes. They are handy tools for helping you commit to daily Bible reading. The Bible Gateway website has a great selection of devotionals that you can choose from.
However I challenge you to pick up a printed devotional and give it a try. There’s something interesting experience of a printed devotional: it’s tactile, it encourages you to unplug and attend to the words. The very slowness of a printed devotional encourages you to be still and know that God is with you. These little publications are small enough to slip into the cover of your Bible, and you can carry them with you wherever you go.
These little devotional magazines are also helpful if you are trying to encourage someone in their spiritual life. Carry an extra devotional in your bag/car/satchel so that you can easily pass it along when you meet someone who can use it. Imagine the spiritual impact if each of us passed along just one devotional magazine each month.
Most churches provide print copies of devotional magazines. Our church, Covenant-First Presbyterian, keeps stocks of Our Daily Bread and The Upper Room. They’re not just for members – anyone can drop by and pick up a copy.
So take up the challenge. Just 15 minutes a day in devotional reading. Let us know what a difference it makes for you.
This Post is adapted from an article originally published in the August 2014 edition of the Covenant Courier.
About the cover image: This was a chalk drawing I found at Roebling Point bookstore in Covington KY back in May 2016. The drawing copies Michelangelo’s Lybian Sybil from the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. That pagan prophetess was famed for prophesying that one day a king would be born of a virgin. Michelangelo depicts her here among the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ.