“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.“
“Bible reading”, “devos”, “quiet time”…
Whatever you call it, spending time in the Bible is vital to our walk with God. However important it is, though, it can be extremely difficult to stay consistent. I’ve often struggled to stay in the Word, and although I still am tempted to skip, I’ve learned there are certain things that make it easier to approach my quiet time with a joyful heart.
I want to begin by sharing the one thing that changed my entire approach to devotions, the Bible – really my entire walk with God.
Tip #1: A Change of Perspective
For years, I viewed my walk with God as a list of rules for ME to complete. My relationship with God put the focus on me and what I could do. It only changed when I started pursuing God for who HE is. Instead of reading the Bible because that was what was expected of me, I began to look at the Bible as a way to get in God’s presence and just be with Him.
When I don’t want to read the Bible, I recall that I’m not approaching a book; I’m approaching God Himself. God’s Word isn’t powerful because it’s old or reliable. It changes people because God changes people. Reading God’s Word will impact your day because it is God’s Word.
Think of devotions and quiet time as your time to sit in the throne room of God. Just as you become like the friends you spend time with, God’s Word will change you because you’re spending time in God’s presence when you read it. Don’t just “read the Bible”. Go sit in the presence of your Creator, Savior, and Friend to listen to what He wants to tell you. When you learn to love God, you’ll learn to love His Word too.
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Tip #2: Read even if you don’t feel like it.
I sometimes don’t want to spend time with God, but I always come away from His presence refreshed and better prepared for the day. If you aren’t looking forward to time in God’s Word, chances are you haven’t had enough. The more you read with an open and teachable heart, the more you will hunger after God’s Word.
Tip #3: Don’t forget prayer.
Your Bible reading will also change when you start viewing it like a conversation with God. Tell God your confusion, doubts, feelings, hopes, and ask as many questions as you can think of. God is the best friend and teacher you could ever have. Talk to Him, and He will answer. My relationship with God has grown so much since I began talking to Him like a friend. I can pour out my heart to God, and He will listen. He is our Creator and understands us better than any human could!
Tip #4: Write down each verse (for in-depth study).
When I read the Bible, I have a tendency to glaze over confusing or familiar verses. I recently went through 1 Timothy, writing out each verse as I read. I only read about 10 verses a day, but I came away with a much greater understanding of the book.
Tip #5: Read the Bible book-by-book.
The flip-and-point method will leave you bored and confused. Read the Bible book-by-book, and you will get a much better understanding of each passage.
Tip #6: Write down the characteristics of God.
As I read the Bible, I’ve been writing down what I learn about God’s character. Getting to know God is the point of devotions (and life!), so this is a practical way to learn about our Heavenly Father. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt and what I learn is very applicable!
Tip #7: Switch between studies and long readings.
I used to think that if I didn’t read a chapter a day, I was a bad Christian. I would feel terrible if I read less than a chapter, and I would even pick small chapters on busy days so I could still “check off the box”. While a chapter is a good length, God doesn’t condemn a 5-verse reading. Remember that the length of the passage you’re reading is not what changes you. Being in God’s presence will impact your day. You could read 5 chapters, and your heart could still be far from God! Do long readings and deep studies, and don’t be confined by legalism.
Tip #8: Read out loud.
If you can’t concentrate on the passage you’re reading, try reading it out loud. It might sound funny and your siblings might look at you like you’re crazy, but reading out loud often helps people concentrate.
Tip #9: Memorize!
The Holy Spirit often speaks to us by bringing a Bible verse to mind at the right moment. Hide God’s Word in your heart that you “might not sin against God” (Ps. 119:11).
Tip #10: Turn up the tunes!
If you’re wondering how to begin your quiet time, try turning on a favorite praise song. I recently started doing this, and it really helps me to put the focus on God from the start. Here are a few of my favorites:
How do you stay consistent with Bible reading and quiet time?