I’ve had several posts where I encourage the Christian to do “what works for them” in regards to Bible reading and other spiritual activities. I think we can try to force ourselves into a method that does not match us, and end up unnecessarily frustrated or feeling like a failure.
However, it is important that we don’t deceive ourselves either. It may be we are lazy and lack discipline. I’ve known people who just can’t stick with anything, and their life is strewn with started but never finished projects of all types. That is not good.
But that may not be it. While some people need a consistent routine, some of us need variety and flexibility. I know Christians who follow the same devotional routine year and after, and it works for them. Great! But don’t (necessarily) feel like a failure if you have tried such and got bored or couldn’t stick with it.
A blog called Spoiled Milks has had an ongoing series of posts where he asks a biblical scholar about their devotional life. I have found these very interesting. I’d encourage you to explore the series.
I will direct you to a recent one: A Scholar’s Devotion with Craig Blomberg. Blomberg’s answer to question number 1 resonated with me and is similar to my approach. He offers examples of his varied devotional routines. He emphasizes that we shouldn’t think we must use one method for life but vary it as often as we need to, in order to keep things fresh.
We are about half-way through 2019, and if your devotional life has puttered out, maybe you just need to switch to something new!
There is nothing wrong with putting a spiritual or devotional book to the side in July, and plan to pick it up again next January or July in order to finish the book then. If you are bored with your Bible reading plan or feel bogged down in the section of Scripture you are in, consider switching to another section of the Bible – maybe Proverbs or one of the Gospels – and after that go back to the section of the Scripture bogging you down. You may find you’ll have a fresh and renewed interest in what was previously boring you.
A final word of clarification, by “devotional life” I refer to varied spiritual practices that can help you in the spiritual life: prayer practices, Bible reading methods, journaling prayers or reflections on the Scripture, etc. Even serious Bible study can be devotional when we also meditate, reflect, and pray.
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Pastor Randy said:
Well said. I’ve noticed that those “one size fits all” clothes rarely fits. So it is in our time with God…thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for your comment Pastor Randy, and good way to word it!
I’ve never been one for routine, and spent years just feeling guilty when preachers continued on and on about ensuring you ‘read your Bible’ every day. Wasn’t healthy. Now I read when it suits and when I’m ‘ready to receive’ and I get so much more from it. No routine whatsoever, but it works for me, and I still read regularly, finding more ‘gems’ that Impact my life.
The ‘routine’ often meant I just lifted the book, read a few verses, and felt ‘done’ [tick] and that’s the downside of such an approach.
Hi Grammatteus! Thanks for this comment. Sorry i am late to approve it – I overlooked it when several comments came in at the same time.
I am the same way – I get more meaningful Bible reading done without a schedule or routine. I go with the flow, and it works for me.
Thanks, Laura, for the link!