Let's face it. Most of us have dry spells when our devotions get back-burnered. Usually busyness is to blame. We're busy with college classes, we're trying to advance our career, we're working on our marriage, we have little kids, and so on. But in addition to busyness, there are other culprits that get in between us and Scripture. Stephen Nichols explains these "letdowns" in Welcome to the Story:
- The scriptural letdown. We always read about people having tremendously emotional experiences reading Scripture, but we never seem to get there. That gets discouraging, and we give up.
- The intellectual letdown. We don't always understand Scripture. We read it again and again, and still don't get it. This discouragement can also lead to neglect.
- The spiritual letdown. We fail to see any kind of spiritual transformation that you feel is supposed to be a natural result of a daily quiet time. So we wonder if it's worth continuing.
So how do we respond? Where do we begin?
- First, read Scripture. There is no substitute.
- Only what is appropriate or manageable for you. You don't need to tackle the Bible in a year if you're going to flame out in Leviticus. There are a multitude of reading plans to try as you seek out the right fit. A great one is the "camping out" approach. Pick a book of the Bible you would enjoying spending time in and devote a few weeks or a month to it. Read through the whole book first to get a big picture, then go back and dive in to smaller sections.
- Memorize some key verses, pray about what you're reading, and apply it to your life.
- With any reading plan you choose, be sure to pay attention to the big picture of Scripture. Make connections between what you're reading and the overarching theme of redemption. Think about whole books or units, rather than simply chapters and verses. Understanding the historical and cultural context of the Bible will help us catch points that we would otherwise miss as readers of the technological age.
- Finally, be sure to slow down take deep breaths, and pay close attention to the life-giving words that you are reading.
Want to learn more? Check out Welcome to the Story.