Reading daily from God’s word is another area where Christian leaders can lack. I’m amazed when I meet with other pastors and they admit to me (privately of course) that they are neglecting this time in their daily lives. Oh we study for our professional tasks be it teaching or preaching but when it comes to taking time to feed ourselves, we lack because we find other things to occupy our time. Just one more visit, one more phone call, one more email, and the list goes on and on. For me, I enjoy my daily reading in the early morning but find myself scrambling to get the time back when my kids are back in school like they are now. They get up earlier and it messes with my routine I set up that summer. No matter, I either get up earlier or find ways to make the time up. For me, this is a no brainer. Like taking a walk for my health, bible reading is necessary for my spiritual health.
One of my favorite books on this topic is Wayne Cordeiro’s “The Divine Mentor”. In it, Cordeiro shares stories from his ministry career and one of those that hit me square in the eye was one he told of a pastor friend of his that had committed adultery and was now permanently spiritually scarred from the experience. When Cordeiro asked him why it happened, he quickly replied that it was because he had neglected his own bible reading and devotional time. He said something else in his response that ministered to me. He said (and I’m summarizing here) that he was quite good of pulling a bible text, referencing it in his various study tools, and preaching an informed sermon to his congregation but that none of the words were internalized in his own life. Could it be that we can get so caught up in the daily must do’s of meeting other peoples’ needs that we fail to fill ourselves for the task? Is it any wonder then that when we are weak and emaciated spiritually that Satan could possibly send a pretty woman in to take us down like what happened to Cordeiro’s friend? It’s definitely possible. Perhaps it’s not a woman but Satan knows where you are weakest and he will find a way to exploit that area if you are not careful. The book of Ephesians warns us to be prepared for this and uses the metaphor of the “full armor of God” to illustrate to us the important of the spiritual disciplines. Included in those is the Word of God. In short, the passage says if we don’t take up the armor, and the Bible is called the “sword”, we cannot stand against Satan. I would say it’s imperative then that we do all we can to be prepared for the spiritual attack that is coming our way.
Personally, I use the “ESV Daily Reading Bible” from Crossway publishers for my daily reading time. It’s convienent because the plan is built right in. You read from three spots each day and ribbon bookmarks are included for each section. The plan is built right into the text so you don’t have to keep a paper copy somewhere else. Just pick up your bible and read! Afterwards I journal my thoughts using Cordeiro’s “S.O.A.P.” method outlined in his book. I follow that up with a time of prayer and my devotional time is complete. That doesn’t take away from my preparation and planning time for Sundays. That’s an entirely different process from this personal time where I’m alone with just myself and the Lord. It’s wonderful and it’s easy to do once you make it a habit.
What methods do you use to ensure a time of daily bible reading in your life? Share with me in the comments section and let’s chat about it.