Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Resolution with a Solution

A good friend of mine, Tim King, asked me to review a article of his that would be printed and passed out today at Sunday morning services (December 29th, three days prior to the new year). What he said in that article is something I've needed to hear and so I asked for his permission to share it on this blog. What follows is his work, posted with his permission.

A Resolution With a Solution

"Lose weight.  Pay off credit cards.  Quit smoking.  Eat healthier.  These are just a few of the countless items that many will embark on three days from now.  Some will attempt to do the unthinkable and some will shoot for the more achievable.  Regardless of the goal, they will be working to resolve. 

Have you ever looked at the definition of “resolution?”  It means “the act of determining upon an action or course of action; method; procedure; a resolve.”  So whatever predisposal’s some may have prior to the New Year, if a resolution is being made it’s going to require focus, energy and a determination to follow through. 

Aside from the common goals that many set for themselves, can I make just one suggestion?  I promise that if you are “determined” to “act” on this, you and everyone you associate with will benefit greatly from your efforts.

Commit to joining us in the 1 Year Bible Reading Program.  Can you do that?  Will you do that?  This isn’t your typical program that requires 365 days of reading.  Actually, it’s 260 days.  How so?  Well, the program is designed to give the student 2 days off each week – allowing for catch-up when needed.  Did you notice the word I threw in that last sentence – student?  That’s exactly what we are – students of the Word.  A person who is formally engaged in learning, especially enrolled toward a certain subject, is a student.  To add to that, a student is a person who studies, investigates or examines their course thoughtfully.  How fitting that is to what Paul says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” -  2 Timothy 2:15.

I’ll be 100% honest (and what is said in ink is permanent, so this is quite a leap I’m taking), I have never read the entire Bible in 1 year.  I have started but never made it past the 1st quarter.  Looking back at it, my lack of success derived from one thing.  It wasn’t my busyness, although I blamed it on that.  It wasn’t that it got boring once I got into the Old Testament genealogies, although I remember blaming that too.  And it wasn’t that I forgot to read, even though that was another one of my excuses.  Here’s the “one thing,” I didn’t care for the right reasons.  Let me explain, because these thoughts could easily re-awaken themselves if one’s not care-full. 

  1. Instead of caring for my soul, I cared more about my achievements. It felt good to complete a day and then put a check-mark next to that day’s reading.  My satisfaction came from this.  It was my only goal and I was proud of it.  I even remember writing next to that day where it was that I read.  I was determined to succeed, but only to look back and say, “Look at what I've done!”  I was determined to make my checklist a trophy of some sort.  How vain.
  2. Instead of taking it one day at a time, I was always looking at how much more I had to go.As you can imagine, this led to discouragement.  Doing this simply disheartens and takes away from the daily investments I was making.  There is so much to relish in a day’s efforts but those can’t be seen when crossing the finish line is the only concern.  Approaching it this way is like filling your plate on Thanksgiving Day and not enjoying each one of the dozen dishes you put on there.  God’s Word is savoring when it’s taken one day at a time. 
  3. Instead of being a student (as defined earlier), I was just showing up to get credit.  Similar to the first reason mentioned (cared more about my achievement of completion); it felt good knowing that I did my part.  The problem in this approach is that the motivation is wrongly placed.  There was no attempt to study, investigate or examine the course.  I was just showing up.  I wasn't, as Paul says, “Presenting myself to God as one approved.”  No, I was presenting myself to myself for my approval.  This isn’t a self-righteous attempt toward self-glorification.  This is an attempt to “delight in the law of the Lord…store up His word in my heart, so that I may not sin against Him…being trained in the words of faith…to give me understanding in everything…making every effort to supplement my faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…because it is profitable to me for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness” (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:10-11; 1 Tim. 4:6; 2 Tim. 2:7; 2 Pet. 1:5;  2 Tim. 3:16). 

I hope you can learn from my mistakes and I hope you are interested in joining us on this.  It’s not going to be easy.  But together it will be easier.  And with being prayerful, mindful and careful, your efforts will be full of blessings.  May God help us and bless us in this endeavor."
 --Tim King

Like Tim, I have never read all the way through God's word. In fact there's plenty of Bible real-estate that I have yet to even touch on. I would be willing to say that this holds true for most of those who would classify themselves as Christians. But I'm going to work to change that this next year. My wife, I, and best man, Chris, will be beginning a plan to read through the Bible in chronological order. In our case we will be reading a plan on the YouVersion Bible app on the iPhone which is from Blue Letter Bible (mainly because the phone will automagically remind us to do our reading). Whether you read a plan like Tim mentioned, or one that is through your phone, or maybe want to use a Bible specifically structured for year-long reading, it is definitely a good habit to pick up. How else are we to know God and His will for us if we are not constantly and consistently in the very text through which He speaks?

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