How Do You Start Reading the Bible?

Imagine sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of hot coffee fixed just the way you like it. The aroma of your best candle is quickly filling the room as the noisy distractions of the world take their exit. Maybe you have some soft, subtle instrumental music playing in the background adding to the already calm ambiance provided by the fireplace across the room. Are you there or somewhere similar in your mind? Good.

Now imagine your Bible in your lap. You’ve prepared the time and the place to sit down and devote yourself to God’s Word. There’s only one problem. Your mind won’t focus. It’s more concerned with the crackling in the fireplace than the context of the passage. You want to think deeply about God’s Word, but your mind seems to be running deep into the woods just outside your house. So, you take a sip of coffee and think, “Let’s do this.” Around 10-15 minutes later you decide to stop fighting all the distracting thoughts and follow one of them which leads out of your favorite chair and into the hustle of the day.

If you’ve ever tried to sit down and read your Bible then you’ve probably experienced something like this before. “Is there something wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Should I change coffee creamer?” We start asking ourselves all kinds of questions to figure this out. What if the “magic” isn’t in the chair or the creamer, but in the motive of why you’re there? Our “why” will always determine our “what.”

Let’s examine that for a moment. Ask yourself honestly why you created that space and sat in that chair on that particular morning (or evening). Fight against the answer you think you’re supposed to give and be honest with yourself. Were you avoiding something or someone in your house? Was it just routine? Was the coffee your main motivation? Did you want the ability to say and show on Instagram that you had a “quiet time” for the day? Here’s the not so big secret. If any of those were your “why” then you accomplished exactly “what” you wanted to accomplish. You got alone. Your drank coffee. Instagram now has a photo with #quiettime.

Here’s the other not so big secret…you want more. You want the coffee to get cold because your heart is burning hot while reading God’s Word. You want the colors outside to pale in comparison to the vibrant truth being illustrated in Christ’s teaching. You want to shift uncomfortably in your chair because the Holy Spirit is highlighting areas of your life that need correction. You want to forget the facade of social media because you’ve encountered the genuine life of Jesus Christ through His Word. You REALLY want more.

If you’re still with me then maybe you’ve nodded your head a couple of times and are waiting for me to tell you the secret to achieving what I’ve just described. Shortcuts and secrets to success in our devotion to Christ are not available. There is, however, a starting point.

The starting line is NOT a reading plan or a study method. Those are helpful tools we will consider in the months ahead, but they are not the starting blocks for the marathon through God’s Word. The starting point is the posture of your heart. In a recent episode of Day by Day produced by Lifeword Media, Tim Nix encouraged Christians to start their time of devotion with this simple prayer: Jesus, I need to hear from You.

There it is. Our time in God’s word finds real traction when our motivation is to hear from our Lord and Savior. The example of this in Scripture is Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus while Martha was busy getting things prepared (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was doing a lot of good things, but Mary had chosen the best thing. What was it? She positioned herself at the feet of her King to hear what He had to say.

There’s nothing wrong with a comfy chair, hot coffee, or a cozy fire. Good candles and nice lighting can be helpful also. Those are good things, but none of them are the best thing. If those are why you have a quiet time, then you will consistently get what you want. However, like Martha, you will be continually frustrated. Trading the best for less is always frustrating.

Jesus, I need to hear from you.

Start there. And, if you want another “not so big secret,” stay there.
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