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SO MANY START AND SO MANY FAIL

So many people make New Year’s resolutions that fall by the wayside within a couple of weeks or even a few days.  If you are one of those people who vow to make the new year “The Year of the Bible” in your life and fail, I hope what I write here helps.

Years ago when I was a “gym rat,” I saw an interesting trend that, no doubt, corresponds to some people’s Bible reading.  Throughout most of the year, the same early morning group was at the gym about the same time every day Monday through Friday from about late January through the rest of the year.  But, at the beginning of each year, a strange phenomenon took place. 

During the first week of January, the population at the gym doubled or even tripled.  For those of us “regulars,” this was a pain because suddenly the machines and the locker room were crowded.  We actually had to wait to use a machine!  But, there was no real reason to fear, we just gave it a week or two.  By the second week in January there were fewer “visitors,” and by the third week in January things were back to “normal.”  Whew!

I’m sad to say that the trend of the “visitors” to the gym reflects the Bible reading of many.  There is a flurry of activity at the beginning of the year only to wane shortly thereafter.

The goal of this article is to identify some ways by which a person can stick with his or her Bible reading in 2021.  I hope they are successful in helping you develop and stick with a Bible engagement habit.  Please feel free to email at steve@stevebelsheim.com with comments or ways you use to stay on track.

YOU MUST MAKE A DECISION TO BEGIN A BIBLE READING PLAN

In order for you to succeed in developing a Bible reading habit, you must start.  The “bottom line” principle is that you must make a decision to begin Bible reading.  So … just start!  Or as the Nike slogan reads: JUST DO IT!

YOU MUST MAKE A REALISTIC CUSTOMIZED BIBLE READING PLAN

Each one of us is different in many ways.  This is true when it comes to Bible reading.  Some of us are still earning a living and some are retired.  Some are faster readers and some are slower readers.  Some like to mark and write in their Bibles and others do not.  Some are most alert in the early morning or in the late evening or somewhere in between.  Obviously, there are many other Bible reading traits.   Because you know yourself best, you (not someone else) need to customize your Bible reading plan to suit who you are so as to maximize the chances of success.

Here are the factors that I believe are important:

(1) Pick the time of day that is best for you to always be available and alert to engage the Bible.  By selecting such a time, you will reduce the opportunities for distractions to arise.

(2) Choose a place that is conductive to reading or studying the Bible which usually means that it is quiet and comfortable.  By selecting such a place, you will reduce the opportunities for distractions to arise.

(3) Choose a Bible translation that will increase the potential for success.  Thought-for-thought translations like the New Living Translation or God’s Word may be helpful to complete a Bible reading plan as opposed to the 1611 King James Version.

(4) Be certain that you have all necessary materials available.  In an article entitled “Make 2021 Your Year of the Bible” authored by Carolyn Wildermuth (link: Wade into the Word | Blog.bible), she suggests:

I set myself up for success by being prepared and eliminating excuses. I keep my Bible, pens, and journal together in a basket by my spot on the sofa, so I don’t have to waste time searching for them. Consequently, each morning, I’m able to grab a cup of coffee, and go to my place where everything is ready and waiting for me.

(5) Determine a realistic amount of time you can consistently dedicate to Bible engagement.  Make certain that it is realistic in light of your personal circumstances.  You must not to try to bite off more than you can chew.  In her article, Ms.  Wildermuth suggests starting small and asking the following questions:

Starting small is one key to forming a new habit. Along with that, evaluating our situations and creating a plan is a must. Ask yourself these questions: Why do I want to do this? What is my goal? How much time can I realistically spend each day? What time of day will work best? What is the best tool for me? Then, create a plan that fits your goals, schedule, and preference. Start small and be consistent.

(6) You may want to establish a small accountability group to help keep you on track.  For the first time, I am reading the Bible with several other folks and we try to email each other every day with observations about our reading.  Such a plan helps keep us on track and it is very beneficial to consider each other’s takeaways for the same passage.  In this plan, our daily reading comprises two chapters from the New Testament and one strophe from Palm 119.  We also read only five days a week so the weekend is a time to catch up, if necessary.

IF YOU FALL BEHIND, JUST KEEP ON MOVING

It is easy to fall behind in a Bible reading plan.  If you do, just keep reading.  Hopefully, there will be times when you can catch up.  That is a benefit to our five days a week plan since the weekends are a chance to catch up. 

Also, do not try to keep up with those people who complete the Read the Bible in 90 Days Plan in 30 days.  They are who they are, and that is great.  But, you are who you are and don’t compare yourself to others.  Remember that Bible engagement is something between God and you.

IF YOU FALL WOEFULLY BEHIND, YOU CAN ALWAYS BEGIN AGAIN

If you fall so far behind that it is unrealistic you will ever catch up, you can always start over.  Or restart where you left off.  In my opinion, the latter is better because I would rather complete a One Year Bible Reading Plan in two years than not at all.

CONCLUSION

I hope the above suggestions have been beneficial to you.

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change. 

Today can be the day of your salvation!  Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.  You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ). 

Please send me any comments to steve@stevebelsheim.com or use the comments feature of the blog.

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