Balancing a Busy Life with the Spiritual Life
The Goal is Meditation
On another site, I have posted a college paper (written several years ago), titled, The Balance of Academics and Biblical Integration. It has attracted some attention and after reading the related searches, I have discovered that people are looking for suggestions on how to improve their devotional lives (so it seems). Therefore, I am writing this post, because I do not have the time to write an entire paper. This may require several posts.
Pondering the Scriptures
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1.1-3
Psalm one is an excellent passage to consider as we think about daily meditation, or daily devotions.
Why is it hard for Christians to consistently read their Bibles and pray?
I am going to share some common misconceptions, and then follow with some of my own observations. However, I do not intend to be dogmatic, I am only considering possibilities. Please do not misunderstand what I am suggesting. Everyone is different, that is why it is necessary for us to think of fresh and creative ways to study our Bible.
- To be a good Christian you must read your Bible every day.
- You should schedule a time (the same time everyday) to read your Bible
- Some pastors preach, the first thing that we should do is read our Bibles and pray (Because God should get the first/best part of our day).
- People will find time for the things they love.
- Often, Christians do not understand what they are reading.
- Christians are told that they should read their Bibles every day, so when they don’t, they feel bad.
- There are those who feel like they just cannot do it, so they become discouraged.
- Sometimes Christians will follow a reading plan, and when they reach difficult passages, they just cannot get through it, and they give up.
The writer of Psalm one, makes the observation, blessed are those who love God’s law. In the twenty-first century, the law is synonymous with the entirety of the Bible. Meditation is the key. Mediation is much more than reading. It is very easy to read through several chapters (doing our daily duty) and realize that nothing is happening.
- Write out verses on 3×5 cards, carry them with you throughout the day, begin to memorize the Scriptures.
- Actively listen to an audio Bible, think about what you hear.
- Watch, or listen to a sermon online (Most churches provide online listening or podcasts).
- Start writing down what you hear and learn, use a journal.
- Watch a Christian film.
- Download a Bible App, Blue Letter Bible is a great website and App. With the press of one button you can look up the Greek and Hebrew, dictionaries, or literary and audio commentaries.
- Listen to Christian radio (www.unshackled.org) Unshackled is a great website that takes real life testimonies and illustrates them as radio drama.
- While you are driving to work, rather than music, listen to an audio Bible, Christian radio, or a sermon.
- If you have three work breaks, give your first one to God, meditate.
- Eat lunch with a Christian, have a Bible study.
- Buy a single volume commentary and read it alongside your Bible.
- Learn to apply the Bible/theology to every area of your life.
- Talk to God, listen to sermons when you cook or clean.
- Memorize Scripture with your children. (Churches normally send children home with plenty of literature.)
- Read a Christian blog.
As you can see there are many options to choose from. Some of the options include reading, but not all. The goal is meditation, not the reading of one, two, or three chapters.
If you are not a morning person, don’t read your Bible first thing, take a shower, drink a cup of coffee, and have some breakfast. When you have done one of those things, or all three, and when you are awake and your mind is clear, read and meditate.
The writer of Psalm one contrasts the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Next time you are tempted to watch a movie, read a newspaper or a fictional book, or watch tv, make a better choice, meditate.
The Holy Spirit will help me/you to fall in love with the Bible. Do not become discouraged, it takes time to fall in love with anything. God is patient. Do not try harder, or try to be more disciplined. Start with Jesus, meditate on the Gospel, meditate on Him, your love will grow. Don’t give up on God because you have given up on yourself.
Give God some time, He will make it profitable, just get started, sometime.