Inspired by my good friend Lori Mooney, I started the challenge to read the Bible in a year. Why? I crave consistency and growth in relating to the God of the universe. Even when I try to live life otherwise, I always come back to that simple desire. But life seems to get in the way. So how can I meet that desire in a consistent and inspiring way?
Not to get too far ahead of myself, I have to admit I've always had a couple of issues with this idea of reading through the Bible in a year. First, I attempted this when I was 15 (before I honestly cared about the whole Christianity thing) and it took me three years - probably because I did it more out of some misconstrued obligation to a God I didn't know than out of a genuine desire to learn something. Second, I think that having this plan is somehow uncreative - if I was more spiritually wise, I wouldn't need a plan. This, plain and simple, is just an excuse because I am a planner...a planner with good excuses, apparently.
I suspect I'm not the only person who finds it harder to consistently connect with God's word and yet easier to make up excuses as to why I just can't do it. After too many months of apathy, excuses, and blundering, January provided a cultural opportunity to resolve to be different. I saw Lori's tweet about following one of these plans, and after investigating Biblegateway.com, I chose to follow the chronological one. Turns out that the 66 books of the Bible don't come in a nice, neat orderly package. While the idea of a reading plan was old, the idea of reading the stories as they chronologically interacted with one another was novel.
Four months into this plan, I like it...and here's the kicker - I'm still doing it. Do I have to catch myself up at times because I skip a few days? Yes. Do I have to wade through horribly dense books like Deuteronomy and Judges? Yes. Do I sometimes still struggle with motivation? Yep. But I believe the payoff will be generous. Just like intimacy in marriage doesn't happen in sporadic, one-shot moments but rather in the cumulative effect of living the daily mundane together, so intimacy with God develops.
In January of 2011, I'll be able to look back on this year and think "Oh yeah, when that happened, I was right on the verge of the Israelites moving into the Promised Land." I have real sticking points for God's word, which makes scripture more fully integrated into my whole life. And if we're to love God with everything we are and do, this plan sounds like one way of getting there. And I have a consistent yet creative way to fuel a connection with God.