Faith

Half a year in, how’s your devotional life?

by Gabriel Ong // July 5, 2021, 6:41 pm

Half A Year In

It’s July, which means we’ve just crossed over into the second half of the year.

I’ll tell you what I’m used to seeing by this point: my resolutions would have all but died in the first quarter — some time around March.

That’s kinda what happened with my stringent running plans, which were unfortunately curtailed by certain problems my mortal coil presented midway through February.

Physical fitness aside though, I wanna talk about spiritual things. For the first time ever, I’m still on my Bible reading plan!

In that time, I’ve learned a lot about myself as I’ve read my Bible every day (well, most days). Here are some lessons I’ve gleaned from my Bible plan thus far.

IT REVEALED HOW MUCH I ACTUALLY DON’T READ

Humbling, but there’s the truth. I never read as much as I think I’m reading. But keeping — and sticking — to a plan has helped to mitigate that!

The Bible plan I’ve been using since the start of the year is Bible in One Year 2021 with Nicky Gumbel on YouVersion. It’s got an accessible interface and helpful, engaging content like prayer plans or other devotions.

Basically, it seems everything is designed to give you the least amount of problems or inertia when it comes to reading – there’s even an audio option for when you’re driving or running.

The 40 days of prayer season is back. Are you ready?

I’d say of the amount I’ve read this year so far, something like 30% would have been consumed over audio.

It’s really given me insight into just how faith can come by hearing and, on the flip side, shown me through repetition just how little I would have otherwise read.

GOD IS NOT A GRIND

There is a danger though, in feeling like you’ve spent time with God or have taken care of your walk just ‘cos you put the readings in.

You can read and not realise you’ve got absolutely nothing out of it. And you can don’t read and feel such guilt. I’ve certainly been at both ends.

There have been weeks where I’ve lagged behind in my reading plan. And don’t crucify me for saying this, but I think in some sense it’s “normal” for me, for now.

I believe there are Christians who want to read the Bible daily, and that’s where I want to be as well.

Can you imagine life without the Bible?

But I’m not there yet. And that means sometimes I miss days (well, since we’re being honest, I’ve missed over a week before).

When that happens, I’m in catch-up mode. And two things can happen then.

  1. Read, mostly for the sake of reading and getting back on track.
  2. Be super discouraged and just don’t read.

The biggest problem with #2 is that the discouragement snowballs. I found myself dreading what I had loved doing in other weeks because of this “Bible debt”.

I still have a little outstanding debt even now. I haven’t written off any days just yet, but I’m conscious that such a mindset takes a lot of the meaning out of reading.

So I try and get the most out of it, while remembering that other disciplines like prayer and worship are important for connecting with God too. 

I’M GLAD I DIDN’T GIVE UP

I’ve described mostly the bad side of things so far, so I wanna balance things out.

On the plus side, I’m really glad that I’ve stuck to the reading plan up till now.

It’s helped me to see the value of a daily intake of the Word. I’m just an all-around better version of myself when it’s properly sunk into me.

You are what you eat

And also, being trained to read large swathes of Scripture, you get a better perspective on the way certain books were written.

I’ve found myself getting more familiar with certain episodes or even the more obscure accounts.

I’ve developed reference points for myself to know where I am in time, who’s saying what when, and how it’s all relevant to the larger cosmic narrative God is weaving outside of time.

So I’m glad I didn’t give up. I could go on and on about the positives. Suffice to say, I’ve gained so much and regret nothing.

READY FOR YOUR 180-DEGREE TURN IN 180 DAYS?

If you’ve found yourself drifting or not in a great place when it comes to your reading of the Word, my encouragement is to put aside the condemnation.

Take this halfway point as a new chance to start afresh, and to finish the year well!

Whether it’s a compressed reading plan, a topical plan or something else altogether, do something that will build your faith and push you to spend time with God.

Choose discipline in devotion, knowing His mercies are new every day.

THINK + TALK

  1. How often do you read the Bible?
  2. Ever wondered why God seems to speak to other people more? Do you believe that one of the main ways that God speaks to believers today is through the Bible?
  3. Would you consider setting aside some time over the next one month to read His Word and pray? Here’s a 40-day prayer devotional that many Christians all over Singapore are currently using!
About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.