Our beloved and well renowned pastor, the late Bishop Turnel Nelson always used to say that the Bible was God’s ‘Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth’, a clever and self-explanatory acronym which describes in a nutshell the significance of God’s Word. Even without this catchy phrase, the Bible’s importance and effectiveness is undeniable, but as captivating as Christianity can be, reading the Word of God is not always the same for some of us.
The question is, if the Bible is the ultimate ‘Christian Handbook’, how can we lead lives that bear good fruit if there is no desire to read God’s Holy Word? Think of a long distance runner. In order to make the journey, the runner must understand what lies ahead and devise a strategy that is personal. Figure out what works for you. Develop your own strategy to help your desire grow. Here are a few ideas for you to get started.
- Have a plan…. and stick to it.
If you truly want your desire to grow,
- Find the right version for you – The King James Version may not be the best. Many people find it hard to grasp what is being said in the scriptures. Examples of more reader friendly versions are the New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), and New Living Translation (NLT).
- Download a Bible App – For some of us, our phones are in our hands more often than the actual Bible, so here’s a thought… download a Bible App, and actually use it. This tech savvy world we now live in has gifted us the convenience of Bible Apps that come with daily plans to help to develop a daily reading habit. The apps even allow you to set reminders, keep track of your progress, and obtain badges as rewards when you achieve milestones.
- Research – All chapters are not created equal. Let’s be honest, some chapters can be a real snooze fest, especially those explaining lineage (i.e. who begat whom). Chapters like Psalms, Songs of Solomon, and Hebrews, just to name a few, may prove more captivating and helpful in developing your reading habit.
- The best time for you – Designate a time that is most beneficial for reading. Often times leaving it for bedtime hours reaps very little reward as sleep is usually just a blink away. For some, morning time can be just as difficult for having devotions, as saying a quick prayer and jumping out of bed to start preparing for the day ahead, has become the norm. Avoid trying to set unrealistic goals that don’t work with your schedule. Carve out the best time and stick to it.
- Prayer and Repentance.
With prayer and supplication, make your requests known unto God. If you feel like you want more of Him then say it. Ask the Lord to ignite a deeper, stronger desire for His Word within you. Repent before Him so that there’s no hindrances as you approach His throne of grace, and with an open spirit, mind, and heart, beseech God. He said ask and it shall be given unto you, (See Matthew 7: 7, Luke 11: 9, John 14: 13-14Philippians 4: 6-8), so what are we really waiting for!
In Romans 16, where he wrote to the church in Rome, Paul made mention of a number of people who worked with him in one way or the other to build the church of God. We see this theme repeated by many throughout the Bible of the support rendered by fellow brethren in the Lord. The reason being to signify how much we need each other. Interaction helps us grow. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. If your church local assembly usually has bible study, then it’s a good idea to attend.
- Supplemental Reading.
As difficult as reading the Bible can be, there are tons of other reading resources you can use to help you develop your desire for God’s Word. Devotionals, study guides, and inspirational books are great aids in understanding and appreciating scripture. They can provide useful context and nourishment for your current level of desire, while whetting your appetite for more. 1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby”.
- Employ your other senses.
Besides your eyes for reading God’s Word, your other senses can be used to inspire a deeper desire within you. Listen to the Word. Speak the Word. Taste it and feel it. Allow yourself to become immersed in God’s glory and awesome power.
- Listen to the Word – Luke 11:28 says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God, and keep it”.
- Speak the Word – Proverbs 18:20 says, “From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied”.
- Taste it – Psalms 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him”.
- Feel it – When God created the earth and all its creatures, at the end of the sixth day, “He saw all that He had made and it was very good…” (Genesis 1:31). Taking a nature walk may be just the thing to jump start your desire for God’s Word.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you. My God” Psalm 42:1 (NIV). Summed up in this one verse is the type of desire we all should aspire to have for God and His word, a desperation that can never be quenched. God is faithful to feed your desire and nourish your faith. Be blessed.