More and Better

Change is usually a very difficult thing for people to do. We think about change. We see the need for change. But we find it difficult to actually change what needs to be changed. We may even start to change, but find if hard to carry it through. New Year’s resolutions are one kind of change in which we notice this. People make New Year’s resolutions and carry on with them for awhile, but when the new wears off, they are set aside like an old toy. It’s just hard to follow through. Is there a way to have success in this? Is there a secret to actually making the changes we want?

There are no absolute guarantees, but there are ways to help us make change a reality. I call it, “more and better.” Making a change is not only about doing things different but also about doing them more. Almost always when we want to do a good thing more we also need to do it better. That’s where the real change comes in. The ability to carry through on a change we want to make is closely related to doing it better. If we can do the thing better so that we reap some tangible, beneficial results, we will more than likely have success.

One of the things that believers in Jesus Christ want and need to change is their Bible reading. Bible reading is a good thing. Bible reading is a necessary thing. We need to know God and to hear from God. But the problem is that reading the Bible consistently is hard. That’s why so many people struggle to do it to the level they know is necessary and good.

That’s where more and better comes into play with Bible reading. We naturally want to read our Bibles more. But when we try to read the Bible more, we find it is more difficult than we thought. We may have even given up on the project. But there is a way to successfully read the Bible more. We read it better. If we derive a blessing from reading our Bibles, we will want to read them more. This is how we take the feeling of being a chore out of Bible reading.

How do we read the Bible better? There are two ways to read the Bible better. The first way everybody can and should do, and the second way is different from person to person. These two ways are seen in a three step process: (1) Set goals (2) Create a plan (3) Commit to action.

First we set some goals, some specific goals. Reading the Bible is itself a goal but not specific enough. How much of the Bible do we want to read and in what time frame. This is where it is different from person to person. How much Bible reading we’ve done in the past will determine how much more we can do in the present and future. If we haven’t read the Bible much in the past, then we do not want to dive in too deep in the present. A more modest goal may be in order. Our goals should be both a challenge and realistic. 

What kind of a reader we are will also determine how much and what kind of reading we will do. If we don’t read much, we will probably want to take it slower than if we read a lot. All these considerations go into setting a goal for Bible reading. Maybe reading the whole Bible in one year is not the best goal for you. If you have tried in the past to read the Bible in one year and were not successful, then it probably is not a good goal for you. There is no command in the Bible to read it all in one year, but we do want to read it all in some way and in some time frame. We want to get the whole story and message of the whole Bible, but we need to get it in a way that is understandable and applicable.

Next we create a plan to achieve our goal. Having a Bible reading plan is necessary for success. Our plan will include how much we read daily and weekly, and what parts of the Bible we read. Some parts of the Bible are hard to read. They may be hard to understand and/or find any application in them. So our Bible reading plan may need to mix various parts of the Bible. Reading the more easily understood passages first is a good way to read the Bible better. The key to reading the Bible better is to derive a blessing from it. Receiving a blessing from Bible reading is to know we’ve heard from God. If we create a plan and discover it is not a blessing for us, we can adjust our Bible reading plan accordingly. It’s ok to make a change in our plan for change. Hearing from God and receiving a blessing will often mean we read slower and more thoughtfully.

Finally, we commit to action. Committing to action is not just beginning to read, but also committing to continue to read. There must be a sense of divine calling. A sense that God is with me in this and that he will bless me. This is a big part of reading better. My motivation is greater if I know I’m doing God’s will and that he is in reality speaking to me from his Word. This is how we can overcome the natural inertia to change. We find we are changed by our experience of fellowship with God in his Word. It is important that we find joy in the process of encountering the Word of God as well as in achieving our goal of change. It is not important to just check off our Bible reading for the day, but to encounter God in the Bible. In this way, we are changed by spending time in the presence of God. No one experiences the presence of God without being changed. The blessing is worth the effort.Reading the Bible more and better brings real life change, and when God changes us, he’s in the process of changing the world.

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