The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
I know I need to be in the Word more and to devote time to studying, but I don’t know how to go about structuring that time. Where do I start? I’ve tried the whole, open-the-bible-to-a-random-page-and-start-reading … I’ve also tried following plans and reading through the Bible in a year, etc, and nothing seems to work. I always lose interest or lose my place or forget to read every day and get discouraged because I’m way behind. Help!
This is something that I think everyone deals with, I know I certainly have and continue to struggle with this. There are two issues at play here. One is purely practical and one is a little deeper.
The strategy thing is a case of you have to try some things until you find something that works for you. And sometimes that is a case of something working for a while, and then getting stale and you try something else, which is totally fine. The random page thing isn’t great in terms of getting momentum in your habit. The reading plans are good, but a year can get a little overwhelming, and also you end up in the Old Testament reading a list of people who built something, which isn’t fun for anyone.
There are some other options. There are devotional books such as Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest and Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. These tend to be in more digestible lengths and they also give you some insight on the text that makes it easier to apply to your life in many cases.
Another idea is to read a book of the Bible. Like work your way through one of the Gospels. Again, it is shorter, so missing a day doesn’t pile up. It also gives you an endpoint and then you can either pick another book, or another type of devotional altogether.
To go along with strategy, you need the right mind set. We do these devotional times to equip us for the challenges of our walk and to gain wisdom from God. We don’t do them in order to be an A+ Christian. That kind of thinking is what I think derails a lot of folks because it lets guilt and shame into the picture. You get in this cycle of feeling guilty that you missed a few days, and now it’s piling up and it doesn’t really count if you don’t do all the readings, and it gets overwhelming. The right mindset allows you to say, “I missed a couple of days, but that’s fine because yesterday is gone and I am just looking for the wisdom and strength for one today.”
Nobody is grading your devotional time. So you need to give yourself the freedom to try some things and to not beat yourself up if you have some struggles. That freedom and relaxation is what will make the whole thing go.
-Matt from The Bridge