"I will not neglect Your word."
- Psalm 119:16 NIV
If you are at all familiar with my devotionals, then you know how I continually urge believers to devote themselves to the Word of God. One reason for this is the fact that, until I began digging into the Scriptures for myself about 16 years ago, I was a misguided and mediocre Christian. Someone can tell you about the life-changing power of God's Word, but only when you discover it for yourself can you truly appreciate this precious gift from the Lord. That's why I want to suggest some practical steps you can take to spend time in the Word daily from now on.
First, pray for the Lord's wisdom and help in this area, knowing that it's His will for you to devote yourself to His Word. Jesus said: "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." (John 8:31 NASB) Since the Lord has promised that when you pray according to His will, He will answer, you can pray this way with confidence. (1 John 5:14-15)
Next, examine your inner dialog. Do you ever say things like, "I'm so undisciplined," or "I have no self-control"? If so, stop it once and for all. Make a point of examining your self-talk daily, and determine to banish all negative speech from your thoughts and your lips. Begin making positive statements to yourself based on the Word of God. Scripture says that "[God] has given us a spirit of...discipline and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP) Begin saying, "I have discipline and self-control!" Say it with conviction and confidence, because it's true.
Another thing you can do is to begin to take very small steps that won't intimidate you. If you set a goal to read the Bible in a year, you might be more likely to get discouraged and quit. Instead, establish small goals for yourself, such as reading one psalm each day.
Acquiring the right study materials can really spark your interest in God's Word. Make sure you have at least one or two good study Bibles that show you how to apply the Word to your life. Choose translations that are easy for you to understand, and that minister to you personally. Get devotionals that point you to specific verses to look up. Even if they are Scriptures that are very familiar to you, seek them out, because the Holy Spirit may want to impart some special revelation to you from some of the surrounding passages or pages.
It's absolutely essential that you remain on your guard against the devil's tactics to keep you from God's Word. Expect him to say things like, "You never seem to get anything out of reading the Bible anyway." When he does, you can answer him by saying, "I am going to read God's Word with joyful expectation, and I know that He will speak to my heart each and every time." Satan may also try to tell you, "Even if you do read the Bible, you'll never remember what you've read." If so, then you can tell him, "Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would help me to remember whatever I need to, when the time comes." (John 14:26) God longs for you to get to know Him better through His Word. Won't you do your part to grow closer to Him today?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for all of the times that I've neglected You, by neglecting Your Word. Help me to do whatever it is I need to do to please You in this area from now on. Thank You that as I do my part, I will come to know You better--and love You better--than I ever have before!
- J. M. Farro