“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” ~ John 6:68-69
Almost every morning my alarm wakes me up at 6:00 am – if our baby boy doesn’t do it sooner – and this verse runs through my head and heart. These words of Peter motivate me as I turn on the coffee pot and grab my Bible for another day, looking to the promises of God as the satisfaction that I know my soul needs and my heart desires.
Perhaps you drink from this same well each day, or maybe you’ve given up because the ground seems more like a desert wasteland and the search for an oasis doesn’t quite fit into the daily routine anymore. Whether you can identify with either of those, or you’re somewhere in the middle, I’d like to offer three practices that help me when I turn on the light and sit down at the breakfast nook with the Scriptures in hand.
Don’t play catch up. People often make the resolution to get through the Bible in a year, get a few months in, and are already discouraged playing catch up with their plan. I love mine. It’s a combination of one half of the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan and D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God commentary. I do miss days, but I never play catch up. If a Bible reading is going to be a lifetime habit, and we are going to be drinking from the fountain regularly, then we shouldn’t worry if we miss a day occasionally, it’ll still be there when we come back around next year.
Focus on a paragraph. It’s too easy to read the Bible, put it away, and forget what we’ve read 15 minutes later. That’s normally what happens to me if I don’t pick something to dig into. With a pen in hand, we should expect the Spirit to illumine our hearts to something we want to take a closer look at.
Look for God. God’s word is full of, well, God. Two questions I ask every time I read are, what is God up to? and what is he like? It’s hard to describe what deep comfort and love for God comes with simply answering those two questions and writing down the answers every morning for years on end. He speaks to us through his word, and in his word is where we will find him, and when we find him, we will be satisfied in him.
A Bible reading plan is not an end in itself; it is a way to fall deeper in love with Jesus, the Holy One of God. Following a plan to be in God’s word for the rest of life, not just the New Year, is the best way I’ve found to be satisfied in him. He has the words of eternal life. Where else shall we go?