Have you ever sat down to have a quiet time and wondered, what’s the point?
Countless times I’ve realized that, aside from my brief Bible reading and prayers in the morning and evening, I’ve forgotten about God all day. This leaves me with a horrible feeling of guilt, wondering what impact reading my Bible actually has on my life.
Does your Daily Bible Reading Impact the Rest of Your Life?
When I first started high school, I thought that in order to take my faith seriously, I needed to think about God all the time. And so I listened to worship music on the subway ride to school. I prayed on the walk from the subway to my school. I spent my free periods exchanging Bible verses and prayer requests with a close friend via text. During that time, it seemed like my spiritual life was booming. I was praying regularly, having my quiet time every day, and using my commutes to grow closer to God through worship music. This, I thought, was what it meant to be a Christian high school student. How could I not be thriving?
After a few months, I realized that I was simply incapable of spending every waking moment thinking about God, and I was completely disoriented. Did my “spiritual life” have anything to do with my “regular life,” or is it some sort of dual identity, where I have a quiet time in the morning and then proceed to forget about God all day at school until I come home and say my prayers before going to bed? To me, both ends of the spectrum felt equally inauthentic and dissatisfying. I was terrified that if I didn’t spend all my spare time trying to get closer to God, I was failing at being a Christian.
I’ve learned since freshman year that the Christian faith does in fact tie into my everyday life, although not in the force fit, think about God every spare minute way I initially believed. Sometimes it’s the moments when we are not explicitly thinking about God that we are able to recognize how our faith ties into our everyday lives. Though it may not seem like it, our setting aside part of our day to read Scripture has a big impact on the rest of the day- including the parts of the day where we aren’t necessarily “thinking about God.” Here’s how:
Scripture roots us in truth
So many things come at us over the course of one day, or even one hour. We’ve become a bit like computers, constantly taking in input, whether it be from news outlets, school, social media, or the people around us. In the midst of all the craziness, it can be easy to get a little lost or overwhelmed. This is where Scripture comes in.
Studying Scripture points us to truth, turns our hearts to Jesus, and reminds us of the bigger story. When we set aside time during the day to be filled with the truth that comes from God’s word, we are able to view everything that life throws our way through the lens of Scripture.
This in turn not only gives us wisdom about how to respond, but also gives us insight into who God is and how He would respond. As we constantly take in input from the world around us, God’s word gives us an anchor.
Scripture helps us make hard decisions
We make decisions every day, and not all of them are clean cut. But even as we make those decisions, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that God will direct our paths if we rely on him. Scripture is one of the best places to turn when we need to make decisions because it is full of God’s Spirit, wisdom, and direction. Take Matthew 6 for instance, where Jesus says not to worry but instead to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, trusting Him to take care of us. Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 can help us make decisions not out of fear, but instead out of trust. As someone who often gets anxious about making the right decisions, Jesus’ words have comforted me when having to make a tough decision.
I’ve found that when I’m in the habit of reading Scripture regularly, Bible verses will come to mind when I need it most. Those verses have formed me, given me clarity, and spurred me into action, all while drawing me closer to God’s heart.
Scripture helps us to stand firm
The more we spend time with God, the more like Him we become, and our faith begins to weave seamlessly into the rest of our lives.
The more familiar we are with God’s voice, the more able we are to stand against temptations to disobey or turn away from God. Ephesians 6 tells us to stand firm and use the sword of the Spirit against trials and temptations. This sword of the Spirit is the God’s Word, or in other words, your Bible!
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17, my emphasis (NIV)
By studying Scripture we are becoming familiar with our “swords.” We are grounding ourselves in truth, learning more about who God is, and discovering his plans and promises. Doing this every day is like building muscle. As we get more and more familiar with the truth, promises, and nature of God’s word, the easier it will be to stay rooted in God’s word when temptations come our way.
My dad used to say, “we pray for the times when we’re not praying,” meaning that by turning our hearts to God in prayer we are allowing God to meet us and shape us, so that we can be attentive to Him even during the parts of our day when we’re not praying. The same can be said about Scripture.
I was in a state of stress as I sat down one Sunday night to plan for the week. And somehow, 1 John 4:18 popped up on my screen: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” In that moment, Scripture rooted me in truth and helped me to trust God even in the midst of my stressful week. God’s word to us is a gift. When we read Scripture, we get to know who God is. And God uses Scripture to point us to Himself, shape us, and send us out into the world to be faithful witnesses to Him.
As you spend time in Scripture today, know that God is eager to meet you! How might meeting God in Scripture now impact the rest of your day?