The more I read about or witness what’s happening to Christians in these last days before the Rapture, the more I cannot help but see that there is a real crisis in Christianity in terms of last days apostasy, deception, lukewarmness, worldliness, compromise, immorality, lack of wisdom and so many other things. These spiritual conditions have many causes, to be sure. But I believe one of the biggest reasons for this spiritual darkness is because too many Christians are not spending any time or enough time in the Word on a daily basis.
Here’s what I mean. We allow Satan to make inroads into our lives when we do not fortify ourselves with God’s Word. We become vulnerable to his attacks. 1 Pet. 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” Ephesians 6: 11-18 advises us to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. Here we see the vital importance of protecting ourselves from Satan’s lies and worldly deception through the use of the various pieces of God’s armour.
God intended for us to treat His Word with respect. That is to seek it every day as our spiritual food. I would suspect that the vast majority of us don’t forget to eat physical food every day, right? So why do we neglect the spiritual food? Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Psalm 42:1 says, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
We need to yearn for God and to know Him. We know Him through His Word. John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Here are some misconceptions or false excuses I hear for why Christians don’t read their Bibles:
1. I’m too busy and don’t have time. Boy, isn’t that a lame one! Listen, all of us are “too busy”, but are we too busy to put God first? Priorities, folks, priorities!
2. I’m too tired to read. Yeah, but yet we’re not too tired to do other things, like watch TV until midnight. Another lame one! Find a good time during the day when you’re not tired (such as in the morning or during lunch break) to spend 20 minutes in the Word.
3. That’s for preachers and missionaries. Another cop-out. Listen, God’s Word is for ALL GOD’S CHILDREN! God intended for each of us to learn to discipline ourselves a little each day so we can truly KNOW HIM!
4. I do devotionals every day. That’s enough! Sorry, but no it isn’t. A few verses a day is not enough to sustain or grow in our Walk with God. Why? Because God is so vast, and His ways are much higher than our ways (Is. 55:9). We need to dig into the Book and take a big bite out of it, not a puny nibble! If you’re used to puny nibbles as your daily spiritual diet, then at least start by reading a chapter or two.
5. I like to read some parts of it, but other parts I don’t relate to. Again, in being respectful of God’s Word, we need to look at it as the Whole Counsel of God. So then, why do we practice “Burger King Theology” and pick and choose what we will read? We need to discipline ourselves to read ALL OF IT, even the parts we have difficulty with. That’s how we learn.
There are many benefits to daily study of God’s Word, which are vital to Bible-believing Christians if we are to enjoy a satisfying relationship with God and a quality Christian life. It might be wise to study the passages below:
1. We discover the Mind and Heart of God more each day (John 17:3)
2. We are comforted and encouraged (John 14:16)
3. We learn how to be discerning in many things and how to tell the Truth from a lie (John 8:32; John 14:6)
4. Our faith is alive and meaningful (John 7:38)
5. We share our faith with others (Matt 28:18-20)
6. We are obedient to God’s commands (Micah 6:8)
7. We have God’s resources to draw from instead of our own human, bankrupt resources (2 Cor. 3:5)
8. We can bask in the many promises of God (Jer. 29:11)
9. We know God’s plan and purpose for our life and how we fit into it. (Is. 11:9; Hab. 2:14; Matt. 6:9-10)
10. God will be glorified by our desire to be close to Him and respectful of His Word. (Psm. 42:1)
There are probably many other benefits I could list, but you get the picture.
So, if we have been out of the habit of studying, how do we cultivate good study habits? Here are some suggestions:
1. Start by opening the Word and meditating on what God would reveal to you that day. Ask Him to speak to your heart.
2. Follow a yearly Bible reading plan and diligently stick to it each day. It only takes about 20 minutes to a half-hour tops to do the daily Bible readings, so if you’re diligent and purposeful in your reading, you can learn to get into the habit of reading every day as part of your Christian walk. You can find a yearly reading plan either by going to your local Christian bookstore to obtain one; you can go to a number of websites on the Internet and do your daily reading (such as Crosswalk.com); or, if you are “hands off”, you can even purchase the whole Bible on tapes or CD-Roms. Also, following a daily reading plan helps us in seeing the continuity of each chapter as we continue to read.
3. Bible Study helps, such as concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, etc. can aid us in searching for meanings in root words, original languages, contexts or what is called “hermeneutics”. Using these aids can help us find out what God really means in a given passage. Any number of these works can be found in Christian book stores. You can add these study tools to your library, or you can now use the Internet to do the same kind of research.
I can tell you from my own experience that I have been very blessed from my many years of reading and studying God’s Word. As a result of my studies, I can truly say that I know God and He is AWESOME! For me, reading and studying The Holy Scriptures daily is something I really want to do, instead of a legalistic regimen I have to follow. And in these last days of Apostasy, false gospels, lukewarm Christianity and Satan on the prowl, we need to be very sharp in keeping these problems at bay. Very soon we will stand before a Holy God and He will ask us how we treated His Word. What are we going to tell Him?