Our world today is full of books, podcasts, and blogs sharing about life hacks that let us in on a secret shortcut or trick that will increase our productivity or efficiency. These life hacks cover everything from time management to personal finance to working out to anything you can think of.
Why? Because our culture has become accustomed to the instantaneous.
We can get packages delivered to our door in less than 2 days. We can order food at the click of a button. And we can share our thoughts with the world and get feedback instantly from people all over the world.
We have become accustomed to quick results with little effort. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can seep into the way we read the Bible too.
As Christians today, it is easier to scroll through social media, like an image with a Bible verse overlaying a mountain landscape, and feel like we interacted with Scripture than it is to spend half an hour reading the Bible and actually becoming a more effective follower of Jesus. And to be honest, this is a problem.
Jesus Himself told us in John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
Jesus made it pretty clear: When it comes to growing in our relationship with God, there are no life hacks.
As William Wilberforce stated, “There is no shortcut to holiness; it must be the business of our whole lives.” There is only one way to grow and that is through abiding.
But what in the world does this word “abide” actually mean? This isn’t a word we are normally using every day. Well, the Greek word here can be translated as “remain” or “stay” or “dwell.”
So, to abide means to remain with Jesus. To stay with Jesus. To dwell with Jesus. To spend time with Jesus. We are called to remain and abide in Jesus, and the way we remain in Him is through Scripture.
The Bible is not something we can just scroll through and double tap our favorite parts. It’s something we must read, study, meditate on, and then let transform our lives.
Cultivating the Daily Habit
At the end of the day, in order to accomplish the basic things in life, we have to master what is simple. And then repeat those simple steps of obedience every single day to create a habit that leads to success. For Christians, we must master the simple step of daily spending time with God through His Word in order to grow.
Don Whitney bluntly put it this way in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There is simply no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.”
If we are going to grow in our faith and be a healthy Christian, we must cultivate the daily habit of spending time in God’s Word. Here are 3 things that happen when we daily read God’s Word:
1. When we abide, we bear fruit.
If we keep reading in John 15, Jesus continues to say, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”
What Jesus is telling His disciples and us is that the nutrients that we need to grow in our faith do not come from within ourselves. They come from God alone. So, we must be connected to the source of nutrients that produce fruit.
Sadly, I believe we forget about this. We want God to do great things through us, but we tend to neglect that He must first do a great work in us. With this idea, I’m reminded of D.L. Moody’s convicting words when he said, “There are many of us who are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”
If we want a life filled with the fruit of God, we must daily spend time in the Word of God. Because apart from God, we can do nothing. This is why Charles Spurgeon said, “The devil is not afraid of a dust-covered Bible.”
2. We will gain an eternal perspective.
If we create a habit of daily reading God’s Word, that means we will constantly be reading the full counsel of Scripture. As Christians, we need to read Genesis through Revelation. We need the Old Testament and the New Testament. Because when we read all Scripture together, we begin to see a grand narrative, or what scholars call “the meta-narrative” of Scripture that gives meaning to our lives.
Those who have come to know Christ recognize that this grand narrative—this overarching story of redemption—gives meaning and purpose to the world, to history, to all of life, and to each individual. When we see the way that, since creation, God has woven history together and cared for His people and kept His promises, it changes the way we view our current events.
When we read the Scriptures, it reminds us that our present day situation is not unique. There have been pandemics, elections, plagues, floods, racism, and civil unrest before us, and every time God has always been faithful. God has kept His promises.
When we zoom out and see how God has been faithful in the past, we will find hope for our present-day situation. And when the world around us is falling apart, we don’t have to be. Because we know that God has proven Himself before. And He will prove Himself again.
As we read all of Scripture and see how God has been faithful over and over again, it will change our perspective. This eternal perspective is the product of daily spending time in God’s Word and reminding ourselves of who God is and that He is in control.
3. We will have a view of God that is tethered to Scripture.
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That means we should do everything we can to have our view of God tethered to God’s Word and not our own imaginations.
We must remember that the Bible is God’s divine revelation to His creation. It is how He speaks to us. It is how He teaches us about who He is. Which means, if our goal is to have a real, personal connection with God, then it is only by immersing ourselves in His very words that we will grow in our understanding of who He is.
Now I specifically used the word tethered above because of its distinct definition. The word tether means, “a line (as of rope or chain) by which an animal is fastened so as to restrict its range of movement.” For us, we must fasten our view of God to how He describes Himself in Scripture so that we are anchored to the real God, not some version that we have made up on our own.
Spending time daily in God’s Word helps us tether our view of God to Scripture. Not some version we have created for ourselves.