Only 8% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions achieve them. Personally, I prefer to think of them as setting goals rather than resolutions. Either way I rarely stick with the goals I set around the New Year. Last year I set a goal to read through the Bible in a year. As a Christ-follower I need to make my relationship with God my first priority. To do that I need to spend time in His Word on a daily basis.
I went to the local Christian bookstore and bought the guide that had the format I liked best. I sharpened my pencils, bought a pretty notebook and cracked open my new book. By the end of January I was already several days behind in the daily readings. As the weeks went by I got farther and farther behind, until defeated, I gave up on my daily Bible reading all together.
Fast forward to September when I once again resolved to start my day in God’s Word. This time I took a fellow blogger’s advice and started each day by reading a Psalm and a chapter of Proverbs. Over 4 months later I am still starting each day with prayer and Bible reading. Current research has blown apart the myth that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Fact is it generally takes 66 days – or 2 months if that is a more palatable way for you to think about it.
Over the last several months I have become completely convicted of the importance of being in God’s word on a daily basis. It would have been so easy to let it go over the hectic holiday season and pick it up again after the first of the year. On a day when I actually prayed that the assigned reading would be short I opened to Psalm 119. Personally, I think God has a great sense of humor because Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the entire Bible.
All 176 verses are a clear, one-of-a-kind devotional on the importance of the Word of God. Memorizing the entire chapter would be a worthy goal to set. The psalmist uses many synonyms for the Bible as he writes. Words like law, precepts, decrees, command and statutes. Verse 18 – Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Verses 27, 28 – Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will mediate on your wonders. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Verses 33, 34, and 35 – Teach me, O Lord to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Verse 98 – Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
May you make your relationship with God and daily time in His Word a priority in 2017. I want to close by praying verses 105, 108, 111, and 114.
Precious Father – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. You are my refuge and my shield; I put my hope in your word. Amen.