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  20th July 2023



"How to Grow in God's Word Today"

Research indicates that you can experience drastic improvement in your spiritual life by merely reading the Bible more.
Most Christians know that Bible reading is essential for spiritual growth.
Still, many of us struggle to open and focus on the Word, even in the face of doubt, sin and spiritual dryness.

When Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread in the wilderness, He replied to the devil,
"Man shall not live by bread alone". For the Christian, the Bible is the daily bread, an indispensable source of life and sustenance.

In a study of the spiritual growth of 4,000 people, eight attributes of discipleship consistently showed up in the life of growing Christians. Bible engagement was number one on the list.
A deeper analysis of that study demonstrated that regular Bible reading increased other spiritual disciplines too, such as obeying God, sharing the gospel and building relationships.

Growing in God's Word does not happen by discovering the one quick fix, the latest app or the new commentary.
Rather it only happens through the daily grind of defeating distractions, opening the Bible, and placing ourselves in a humble posture before God.

Every year matters. How you live each moment matters. The more intentional you are with your money, relationships, community, time and talents, the more confident you can be that you're on a good path. And if you're living faithfully, you can trust God for the rest.
(Candice Watters)

The three most important elements to build your Bible reading habit are time, place and practice.
Set aside the same time of the day to read God's Word.
Whether morning, lunch, evening or a combination, the best times will be when you can attach it to a pre-existing habit, such as a meal. Once you set that time, keep it like any other appointment on your calendar.

Another helpful element is designating a place to do your reading.
Go to the same room and sit in the same spot. Find a place that will be ideal for concentration and that can be special.
In other words, the spot that you sit and watch television, every night, might not be the best choice.

Lastly create a routine practice. It could be hard to develop consistency if you read five chapters of the Bible on Monday, pray for a few minutes on Tuesday, read two psalms on Wednesday, watch a sermon on YouTube on Thursday and so on.
The basic disciplines to practice daily are reading and prayer. Create a pattern to follow every day. So, when you sit down in your regular place at your regular time, you follow your routine practice.

I recommend that you always begin and end with prayer.
You begin with prayer to draw your attention to God's presence and to open yourself to what He has for you in His Word that day. You end with prayer to talk to Him about what you read and how you can apply it to your life.
Help yourself grow in consistency by creating tangible cues.
For example, one of my mentors prepares for his time in the Bible by preparing his morning coffee.
Years of making coffee prior to prayer and Bible reading have helped him form a habit.

You could engage your sense of hearing by having soft music playing, or by preparing with music and then turning it off to focus on the Scriptures. Some friends of mine light a candle when they begin their devotion time and blow it out when they finish.
One cue that I recommend is turning your phone on silent or leaving it in another room.
Your smart phone has been designed to keep you distracted.
Do whatever it takes to eliminate that distraction during your devotion time.

Remember these two points.
First, keep it simple. Your goal is not to discover a complicated or mystical fix that will grow you in discipleship. In fact, the more simple and ordinary, the better.
Second, choose whatever will help you focus. If music is distracting, then don't use music. If you find yourself sleepy and mentally fuzzy after eating, then do your devotion on an empty stomach.

One of the best practices for not only growing in consistency, but also in understanding is to discuss the Bible with others.
You could also simply choose a book of the Bible to read with friends.

Start small with one thing that you could do, that you would do, that would deepen your experience in God's Word.

Take one step every day, and you might be surprised at what God does in a month, a year or a lifetime.

Boundless, founded by Candice Watters is an award-winning ministry of Focus on the Family with the goal of helping young adults grow up, own their faith.

Aaron Shamp is a writer, host of "Filter" - a Christian worldview podcast, and lead pastor of Redeemer City Church in Lafayette, LA.
He has an MA in Christian Apologetics from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and lives in Lafayette with his wife and two children.
Copyright 2019 Aaron Shamp. All rights reserved.

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