…Instead, the focus of your faith should be the God the Bible talks about. But reading the Bible regularly will teach you more about him, so you’ll learn more about what you actually believe and why.
Confession: Before Everyday Devotions launched, I had never had a daily Bible reading habit despite having been a Christian for most of my life. Yes, I regularly felt guilty about it, and no, the guilt was not productive.
In this two-part blog series, I’m going to tell you how Everyday Devotions helped me to start reading the Bible regularly. In the second part I’ll explain some of the things that helped me, but today I’m going to talk about what regular Bible reading is and what it is not.
The only requirement
Firstly, I want to be very clear that reading the Bible every day is not what makes you a Christian. It doesn’t even make you a good Christian. The only requirement is to believe that Christ died for your sins, and to accept him into your life.
‘God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT)
Cause and effect?
So don’t read the Bible every day because you feel like it will ‘do you good’ with God. It’s easy to feel just the tiniest bit spiritually smug when you’ve got a good streak going (ask me how I know). It’s easy to feel that you’ve ‘done something’ for God, and now you deserve to get something back.
As Zac put it recently, ‘…we start out trusting in the good news of Jesus, what Jesus has done, but slip into a works-based religion. We seek acceptance with God and others through the good things we do rather than through what Jesus has already done.’
No wonder you (and I) feel like that; we live in a world where every cause has an effect, where reciprocity is expected and we call it fairness. But the wild, mad gospel of Christ is an upending of all that – a Kingdom where the last are first and the poor are rich.
Encounters with the Living God
But we still need to keep feeding our souls with God’s truth, preaching the gospel to ourselves; and reading the Bible regularly is one of the best ways to do that.
So read the Bible not because you expect something in return. It does not work like that; God is not transactional.
Read it because it is the lived experience over the centuries of people who encountered the Living God, and their words – of anguish, joy, death, miracles, desperate hope, answered prayers – will heal and restore your soul. By grounding yourself in God’s word you’re not doing God a favour; you’re doing yourself a favour.