Reading the Bible is hard. All my ladies, can I get an amen? First of all, there is a lot of it to read. Like a lot. Second, it was written a very, very long time ago. Third? It's confusing and there are some really weird things in it. I'm not sure about you, but I have struggled the entirety of my walk with Jesus to overcome each one of these difficulties when sitting down to have my quiet time with the Lord.
Last week, I wrote an article about the deep necessity of being in scripture as it is our sustenance for spiritual survival. It's hard, I know. However, as a math teacher, I tell my students all the time just because it's hard doesn't mean we can't do it. We have to fight our legitimate excuses of lack of time and an inability to understand.
Trust me, I'm in the trenches with you, and I'm fighting a battle that sometimes feels lost. However, that's just what we get to keep doing. We get to fight. I have some good weapons for you that I think could be helpful in this reading-the-Bible-battle. I'm all about practicality and application, and always find it helpful when someone can help equip me in growing.
So that's what this article is all about for you. Women, it's mainly for you because, well, I'm a woman myself. But men, you don't have to tune out. I know many of these are for you as well. Without further ado, here are some really practical tips and tools for you to help strengthen your spiritual reading-the-Bible-muscles.
1. Strong Mental Game
My dad once told me in high school: Maria, the times when you don't want to read the Bible are the most important times to read it. People, we have an enemy who wants to derail us 24/7. Before we dive in to any other Bible reading strategy, our heart and brain have to be in check. We have to remember the why we do it before we get stuck on the do I have to do it?. Mind you (and this is important!), we don't read the Bible in order to gain salvation. So before we balance the line of legality, remember all of this is drenched with God's grace. We read the Bible because it is good, filled with God's words to us, and is our sword of the Spirit.
2. Start Small and Simple
Give yourself some grace and flexibility. If you haven't really learned how to make reading the Bible part of your routine, don't stress. It's overwhelming. Start with just a little bit (but start). One day when I was beating myself up for not taking time out of my day to read, a friend of mine told me that anything I read is more than reading none. Too true. What I found? Usually when I started, I read more than intended.
On another note, I love walking through life with high school girls. When we get to the point where we realize how important it is to be reading what God wants to communicate with us, we start small. Generally, I suggest starting in Psalms. While reading, have a cute journal close by, and start writing down your observations. It helps us stay focused, keep our minds alert, and zeros in on what David (the author) is trying to convey.
3. First 5
I have this goal every morning. Somehow, some way, I desire to begin my day immersed in truth. Like stated earlier, there is a raging battle among us, and my competitive spirit wants to begin each day ready to fight. I quickly realized that in order to be fully equipped, I had to fill my brain with truth almost immediately after the alarm. Whether through music or scripture, my first thoughts had to be held captive. No joke, I think the following company and I shared some brain waves. They believe the same thing! First 5 is designed to help you and your first five minutes of the day become aligned with Jesus. They even have an alarm clock embedded in the app! All I'm saying is that this is free, cute, and filled with scripture.
4. She (He) Reads Truth
Can some of us agree that when things in life are cuter, we get more excited about them? Call it shallow, but that is a real, honest confession from me. When I'm trying to create these habits to be in God's word, I will take anything that helps. But, before you think I've gone off the deep end, there is more to this than appearance. She Reads Truth is an organization very much grounded in God's word. They provide trendy lock screens for smart phones, have free app devotionals, they create prints for the home, but, they have devotional plans that have rocked my world. If you haven't checked this organization out, pause from this article and do so. It's well worth it. P.s. They have a He Reads Truth as well!
5. Women of the Word
A dear friend of mine suggested the book Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins to all of the women serving in the high school ministry at our church. Wow. What a read. Helpful, easy to follow, super practical and entertaining, this book is my kind of read. It might be yours as well.
6. Finding a Friend to Fight the Foe
Critical, critical, critical. We can't do this alone. Girls, we need girls to help walk through life together. Do you have someone you can talk with about what you've read recently? If not, maybe it's time to start looking for someone else who love reading God's word as well.
I want you to know that reading the Bible is key to our walk with Jesus. In fact, if you read my articles, you might be getting sick of me saying it. But I also know how life goes my friends. We get really good at saying all sorts of things, but sometimes have a hard time putting them into practice. Me being at the top of the list. So why don't we try together? In fact, let's take it one day at a time. When we forget, get too busy or tired, or just don't feel like studying the Word, let us remind each other of God's infinite grace and spur each other on to remember there is no day like today to be seeking Jesus' truth.
What helps you stay in God's word? What encouraging word do you have for your fellow soldiers as we fight in the trenches together?