Does anyone struggle with spending daily time in Scripture? You may do well for a while and then drop off in consistency after a while? Then you feel guilty for missing daily time in the Bible? You are not alone. I have been there over and over again. In this post, I want to share some of my struggles and offer some thoughts I hope will help you.
I did not begin to study the Bible consistently until I was 16. I had just surrendered to the call to ministry and could not get enough. I was cranking out sermons like crazy. When I went to Bible college, by nature, I was in Scripture all the time. Then I got out of the Bible college bubble into the real world. The pace of life picked up, and I found myself in Scripture out of obligation. Duty-driven spiritual actions often lack delight. I have been in this rut dozens of times and had to come back to the heart of worship over and over.
A pastor told me that preaching 3 sermons a week kept him in the Bible all the time, and he was thankful for that. During my 11 months of preaching weekly, I saw what he said fleshed out daily. Then I found myself out of the pastorate and out of the daily discipline. On top of that, my daily wrestling with God kept me away. The “why” questions of my heart built a wall that preventing my desire for Bible study from being aflame. I was saved, but my heart was far away.
Fast forward to today. At the beginning of this year, I decided I was going to successfully read through the Bible in one year. Thanks to the YouVersion app, I have a plan I can follow. I wanted to read through chronologically rather than from Genesis to Revelation (which is not published in chronological order), so I picked the “One Year Chronological Bible”. A daily plan will often cover the moments of overlap in the Bible. I love it. I do, however, find the historic books cumbersome. The historic books are Joshua through Nehemiah. At every turn, there is war, a sequence of good king, bad king, and the people returning to idolatry. I fell off the wagon of reading for 3 weeks during this time. I decided I would read along with the audio to keep myself engaged.
Today, I almost got caught up with the plan. As I was listening and reading, the truth of God fed my spirit. It was great! I am reminded that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). My weary soul found rest.
When you become inconsistent in your spiritual disciplines, there is no reason to beat yourself up. Guilt and shame are not God’s motivators. God wants to spend time with you, so get back up. It’s a new day, so get up and spend some time with God. Pray. Study the Bible. Spend time with other believers (even if it has to be on FaceTime or Zoom in the midst of a pandemic). Refuse to neglect your spirit. God wants the time with you, and you need it.