From Craig Swanson…
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Lose weight, eat better, get more sleep, etc.? This is the time of year that we reflect on life and think of what we want to improve. It’s a good thing to be reflective and set goals. And while many people don’t set goals because they are afraid of failure, rarely do we accomplish something meaningful without being intentional and disciplined.
That said, I want to challenge everyone who is a follower of Christ to resolve to do something this year. “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Colossians 4:16) If you do it, it will revolutionize your life. Here are some of the benefits to the person who is immersed in the word of God given in Psalm119 – blessed, thankful, purity, understanding, comfort, discernment, knowledge, wisdom, and direction from God Himself. It has the ability to transform our lives because it’s living and active – it’s how God speaks to us.
Can you think of a better goal than to let God change you through the power of His word? So how do you let His word richly dwell within you? You have to dwell in it. That’s right; I’m asking you to spend considerable time in God’s word this year. Actually, God tells us to do that in His word, we just disobey Him on a regular basis. Harsh, but the truth is sometimes painful.
So here is the plan – pick a small book in the New Testament that is 4 or 5 chapters long. Read the whole book every day for a month. (Yes you read that right.) Here’s what will happen – you will know that book of the Bible. As you read your mind will be able to finish the sentence without reading it. You will know where to find certain verses. You will better understand what God is saying. Along the way the Holy Spirit will be speaking to you, and convicting you, and revealing Christ to you. His word will dwell in you richly. Along the way, you will find some passages that you don’t understand. Find a good commentary to help you. (John MacArthur has a commentary on the whole Bible that you can get for a very reasonable price. Google Grace To You.)
When you get to a bigger book like the Gospel of John, divide it into chapters of five. It will take you 4 months to get through John, but you will know it well. More importantly, you will know Jesus well. I think this kind of approach is what God has in mind when He tells us to meditate on His word. We soak ourselves in it until it becomes a part of us.
This will take discipline. It will require setting aside 20-30 minutes a day. If we’re honest, we can find that kind of time. Let’s determine to obey God in this one area this year and see what He does.