If I told you there is just ONE thing you can do to positively affect ALL other areas of your physical fitness, are you interested? If I told you there's just ONE thing you can do that will advance ALL areas of your social standing, do I have your attention? If I told you there's ONE simple thing you can do daily that will increase your financial bottom line, are you salivating yet?
What do you call it, then, when you know this ONE thing and neglect it? In the physical realm, we call that a wasting disease, such as anorexia. Regarding our reputation, we'd call such neglect social suicide. In finances we'd say you're just plain financially incompetent and shouldn't be trusted with a credit card.
Yet the majority of us in the Church neglect the ONE thing we know WILL positively affect ALL other areas of our lives. Like good nutrition to the body, like marketing for socialites, and wise investments in our bottom line, daily reading your Bible is the ONE thing that will positively affect all other areas of your spiritual life.
Despite this, only 11% of Canadian and 14% of American CHURCH GOERS read the Bible daily.
And this stands in direct contrast to the majority's time investments elsewhere: According to Shea Bennett on Social Times, in 2015 we spent 28% of all our online time surfing social media sites. When you combine that with an additional 13% on micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, our time on trolling what all other people think about situations is 41% of our online consumption. Now 41% of 1 minute isn't much, but we're spending lots more time than that. Our social media surfing averages to 1.72 hours daily, and .81 hours daily on micro-blogging. That's over 2.5 hours daily in 2015. Amazing. And these numbers have been growing annually, so today it's even more.
What more astounding is the common assertion from Christians to the question, Why don't you read what God is saying to you daily? "I don't have time." Really?!
If we answer thus, we've got spiritual anorexia. Think about this: Anorexia is defined as "an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat."
Refusing to dine daily on God's word is a spiritual and emotional disorder. Our lunacy is an obsessive desire is for social media consumption, all the while starving our spirit and mind of good, life building nutrition.
We respond to those diagnosed with conditions like anorexia and bulimia with great social and emotional concern. A few years ago a friend's daughter was diagnosed with such. They rallied all necessary resources - counseling, prayer chains, and much more - because these disorders are life altering, depleting and ultimately fatal.
We should respond to our spiritual anorexia in the same way.
If this catches your attention and you "self-diagnose" (actually a work of the Holy Spirit because He loves us, so we're not really doing it by our own "selves") with such a deficit of spiritual nutrition, where do you start? Genesis? Maybe. But maybe not.
If you use a smart phone (otherwise used for your social media consumption and games) and a Bible reading app, following a reading plan is easy because they come built in or easily accessible. But what if you use a good ol' "dumb" phone the just calls people? What if you lost the one year Bible reading handout you got at church or in the mail? Now what?
Let me share a simple Bible reading plan you can keep in your head and follow any day:
I learned this when a teenager, and have followed it on and off through the years. I've taught it to dozens and dozens of new believers when giving them a Bible, and hundreds of believers in general. I don't know where I first heard it, so I can't give credit to that person. But that's not always the most important thing, which rather is this: The Holy Spirit is always working to make sure you and I hear and know what we need. Yes, we often frustrate that process, but we can be built up knowing He's constantly working for our good!
So how does it work?
Rather than beat ourselves up over missing a day here or there in our reading - especially thinking in some way that God is standing over us, disappointed and ready to whack us ... which is a totally non-Biblical thought - be free from such and walk in grace. Accept the call to hear His voice for today, and seize this day. Actually, seize this date specifically. Today as I write this it happens to be August 19th. 19. Note that.
In this plan, we're reading 5 Psalms a day, 1 Proverbs, 1 of the New Testament and 2 of the Old. This gives us a broad perspective that's healthy, like a well rounded meal on your plate. Which Psalms to read today? Multiply 19 by 5. Now I'm definitely not great at doing math in my head, but the ones, twos, fives and ten times tables are simple enough for me to handle. Thus, I know you will excel past me in this regard. 19 x 5 = 95. Read chapters 91-95 on the 19th. Thus the date daily tells us which chapters to read. Now here's God's great thing about this: If we read 5 Psalms a day daily, we'll read the book of Psalms each month, as there are 150 chapters, 5 for every 30 days! Next...
Read one chapter of Proverbs. Yep. You guessed it already. Read chapter 19 on the 19th, etc. Now why read Psalms and Proverbs daily? Because Psalms is prayers and praises to God. We need this, and the Word actually teaches us how to do it. And we need God's wisdom, which Proverbs is in compacted format. In fact, there's so much in each chapter there's more than we can remember for an entire day. Don't sweat it. Just focus on the one or two verses the Holy Spirit draws your attention to. Sometimes you realize instantly what it's for; other times it hits you later in the day when the need arises. And here's another of God's great things: If you read 1 chapter of Proverbs daily, you'll read it monthly, because there are 31 chapters!
Start your New Testament reading in Matthew, and - yes - start your Old Testament reading in Genesis. Nothing like starting from the beginning.
Now here's the last amazing thing of God's word: If you read 3 chapters (those NT and OT portions) daily, you'll read the entire Bible in 365 days.
This is like Bible reading by the numbers. And when you do, you won't have spiritual anorexia nor social lunacy at all. Try it and let me know how you're blessed.