Making the commitment to read the entire Bible in the year was a goal I had long put off doing. I have read and studied the Bible, but to follow a specific published reading plan and stick to it!
Well, here fall is upon us and I am still on schedule. I am nearing the end of my third journal, and I cannot remember how many pencils I have used up (prefer mechanical so really, that means leads).
Each day, I am reminded how much I do not know. I also discover that the particular plan that I am using is answering questions that have plagued me for years.
And as you may remember from previous blogs, that I have been reading additional books, including C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Right now, I am also reading another Lewis book, Mere Christianity. And I assure you that all this is intersecting and confirming what I know about God and faith—and life as a Christian today.
Today’s world complicates our lives by the pressure to be ‘successful’ and that is based on an American culture that measures success by consumerism. What car does one drive? How upscale is the house? How big is the wardrobe? How high up the corporate ladder has one risen? And I could go on.
That brings me back to the title: Time to study and for life? What do I mean? In our world today, we have shifted our priorities based on the hours in the day, the days in the week, and weeks in the month. Not to mention that we race from one commercial season to the next—forget the seasonal shifts or the Christian seasons that even served as a base for what has become commercial, i.e. Halloween, Christmas, Easter.
My decision to invest in the Bible reading plan meant I had to make time to study. My approach has been to use the Wesley Study Bible that includes study notes, introductions to each book, Wesleyan Life Application Topics, and Wesleyan Core Terms. And that means reading the scripture is more a research project, and the time I use is almost 1-1.5 hours each day.
This challenges the time for daily life. I do not believe I could have made this time investment without life forces changing my daily schedule. When I was teaching, the time schedule had to focus on the job expectations. Add to that the time to manage a family, the household chores, and so much more.
Our culture, which originated on the premise that religious freedom is a human right, has evolved into a culture that seems to do everything it can to shove one’s faith life out of the first priority position.
We do not even make it a priority to teach, model how to maintain our faith practices within our own families. At least I feel like I failed that too.
Instead, I went to school, I took jobs, I raised a family, and I continued to be a Methodist. I used time for life first, then read a devotional with what little time was leftover.
Today, I have altered my time priorities. I get up early and study before I worry about starting the day. I look ahead at the calendar and if something in real life demands a shift in my study plan, I develop a plan to accommodate the study time I need. Do I ever wish I had adjusted my time priorities years ago!
My point is that the more I study, the more I see life through Christ’s eyes. I am convinced that living in today’s world is greatly improved when I look at it through Christ’s eyes and then determine what I can do through John Wesley’s filter of doing all that I can for all that I can in any way that I can for as long as I can.
And how I wish I could have impressed that concept to my family and on to my students, but I suppose modeling the Christian life is what I must do now. My real-life time is more focused on God, now; but my real life continues to evolve. Hopefully my real-time life reflects my passion for God and his Son Jesus Christ and how it effects my daily life.
Please join me in prayer:
Please accept my apology for taking so long
to value Bible study time.
Continue to fill me with understanding
as I read and study your words.
Guide me in using your words to share
the wonder of a Christ-filled life. Amen