Have you ever had moments in your life where you make a goal to be able to dedicate your life a little bit more to God? And that part of that goal encompasses being able to read and study the Bible more seriously? Guess what. Thousands of other Christians too.
While it is a great goal to aim to better our relationship with God, we know that we end up not achieving it. Don’t we get tired and frustrated at ourselves for constantly not living up to even close to the goals we set for ourselves? Guess what. Same goes for the thousands of other Christians too.
Rather than just continuously trying again and again to better our faith, here are three things that maybe we should consider or “prepare” more in advance before blindly setting ourselves up for another round of failed attempts.
1. Is my heart prepared and in the correct position to want to commit to something?
Studying the word of God is not a one time affair. Nor should it be treated as a “when I can and/or when it is convenient” affair. Not is it enough to think that we know because we can say some Bible quotes. If that is the mentality we have going into wanting to study the Bible, we are already setting ourselves up for failure.
Think about it. The Bible contains over 31,000 verses and covers a time frame of 6,000 years. Would a loose sort of “commitment” suffice? In the words of famous NFL coach Vince Lombardi, “Most people fail not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of commitment”.
Even the biblical characters we read about are highlighted for their commitment towards God, all the way through. Take Abraham for example, his complete obedience towards God was shown as evident even when he was told to sacrifice his one and only son. Take the disciples as another example. Their commitment to the Lord to fulfill the great commission by even going to the ends of the world, being martyred for that cause did not just get forgotten, but rather, acknowledged.
Something that may be difficult, but something we can all learn to have. Today, we aren’t in the same position as these people of faith were in the past. Today, all we need to do is to be able to put our minds to it, and do it all the way through.
2. Does my current circumstance almost make it impossible to commit to something like bible study?
“When there’s a will, there’s a way”. As important as it is to bring that mentality into situations – we need to be realistic. If someone is struggling to even put a roof over his or her head, would that person be more worried about their basic needs or their spiritual needs? As much of an importance and as true it is that our spiritual well-being is important to take care of, let’s be real, the individual’s basic needs have to be met first.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the need for self-actualization which religion and faith often fulfills only comes once priorities like Basic needs (food, shelter etc.) are met. Even the Bible speaks of the influences the external environment may have on our heart.
Even when one goes back to the Bible, we see that in the gospels, Jesus speaks about the parable of the four fields, whereas one of the fields is described to be a thorny one, an illustration for an individual overwhelmed and influenced by life’s worries and riches. The seed, representing the word of God is choked and does not mature in such an environment.
3. Do I have the proper guidance and instruction as I study the Bible?
Let’s say you are able to check off the prior points, now the next question is: how do I start? Valid question. And like learning a new skill, we need to find the resource that is able to teach us correctly.
As seen throughout the Bible, the believers often fail in understanding the word correctly, leading to their eventual downfall. Knowing that studying the Bible is not just an obligation, but rather a necessity for salvation (1 Tim 2:3-4). We need to make sure that for the time we give toward the Word, we are those who receive God’s word with joy and grace.