We have been working our way through a series called, You DO have Time for Bible Study in the past few weeks. And I am almost ready to talk about the real deal stuff of doing Bible study. These past few posts have dealt with the logistics for starting a lifelong Bible study habit. And I have a post for you next week with a simple way to choose a worthy Bible study, but I feel a pressing on my heart to talk about today’s topic.
Last week I told you about picking a time for Bible study and praying for God’s protection of that time. I told you God will do tiny miracles in your life so you can sit at His feet and learn from His Word. And I know this to be true from experience. But today I want to talk about the language associated with a Christian’s time. I want to examine our language and decide if it can pass the very first test of Philippians 4:8: “whatever is true.”
Full disclosure here: I have a pet peeve.
Let me go grab my soapbox…
Have you heard this statement before (or uttered it yourself)?
“I know I need to do Bible study. I need to make time for it.”
Sounds innocuous enough. And it sounds like you have a heart for the Lord.
However, there is a problem with that statement which on its face makes your desire unattainable. You are stating something that is impossible. When you start with something impossible; as with all things impossible, you won’t be able to do it.
“What part is impossible?” you ask.
You will never be able to make time for Bible study. Ever.
God created this world in 6 days. He created the greater light to govern the day and the lesser lights to govern the night. And he created a morning and an evening. Some scientist way back when figured out there were 24 hours in each of these days God created. And even though man’s calendars can vary and change over the years, there is one constant: every day only gets 24 hours.
When you say, “I need to make time,” for anything, you might as well be saying, “I need to create a whole new order of things and then I will be able to study the Bible.” If the conditions don’t exist in this world system God has given us (a 24 hour-per-day system) for you to study the Bible, then they never will.
Which leads me back to what I have been saying all throughout this course about choosing a time, choosing a place and making Bible study your number one priority.
Adjusting our Language and our Focus
Creating the lifelong habit of Bible study does not involve making time for anything. It involves dedicating the time you are given. And adjusting your schedule to fit the priorities you have in place. This ends up making the devotion of our time an active thing. It also makes it a possible thing.
In order to set aside, set apart, and/or dedicate our time, we have to be intentional. We have to say, “Yes” to the one thing our hearts desire. Which means we say, “No” to any number of things in the process.
Of course, this also means the burden is now no longer on something we cannot control – the ever pressing passage of time. It is switched to something we can control – ourselves.
The great saints of the Old Testament didn’t have vocabulary that correlated with this, “I need to make time” business. But they did have language that correlated with individually determining one’s focus and goals. They said it in a number of ways, but my favorite repeated way they said it was,
“As for me…”
A Distinct Life
These simple three words precede some amazing statements of faith in the Old Testament. Let me give you a small sample (because it is just too good!):
- “but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
- ” as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.” 1 Samuel 12:23
- “as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25
- “But as for me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My Holy Mountain.” Psalm 2:6
- “But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter Thy house, at Thy holy temple I will bow in reverence for Thee.” Psalm 5:7
- “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” Psalm 17:15
- “As for me, I shall call upon God, and the LORD shall save me.” Psalm 55:16
- “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7
There are SO many more I could share with you from the Old Testament. And it is so hard for me not to give you the entire context of each instance of this phrase. But this is clear: each reference points to a distinct life, a choice-driven life.
A Distinct Choice
I am convinced that part of the reason it is hard to develop a habit of daily Bible study is we have convinced ourselves it is impossible in this season. And it will be – if we continue to have the mindset that we must make time for Bible study. The impossibility is right there in the statement. Wouldn’t it be more likely to stick, if we declared, as one Old Testament saint did,
“As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.”
The declaration sounds like stronger language and more encouragement to actually create the habit of daily Bible study than, “I know I need to do it – I need to make time.” The hope-so trust in an impossibility just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
How I pray that we will adjust our language and our thinking from what is impossible to what will be. How I pray that you will determine in your heart and mind that Bible study is more than just something to be fit into your hectic schedule. That you will discover it is the most important part of your day and worthy of declaring and determining, “As for me!”