As 2016 draws to a close, I am reminded of my New Year’s Resolutions… from last year. I wryly conclude that making resolutions is not one of my strong suits. (Perhaps a better way of saying it would be that keeping resolutions is not one of my strong suits.)
One of my biggest goals is always to grow in my faith; to “get better” at prayer, at Bible study, at serving. But just saying I should study the Bible more doesn’t seem to cut it. I’m the sort of person that always needs to know why I should do something. If there isn’t a point, I ain’t doing it.
As I’ve struggled through making myself study the Bible this year (with some progress and some backsliding), I’ve started to realize the reasons why. Knowing them is a whole lot different than experiencing them; and I hope that you too will be able to experience the reasons why in 2017. Here is what I have learned.
1. Studying the Bible reminds you of the most important things.
Life is busy and getting busier. As we grow up and mature we get new responsibilities and interests. But some things are important no matter what stage of life we are in, and studying the Bible reminds us of that. Doesn’t the Bible say that we are to “keep our hearts, for out of them are the issues of life”? Everything else won’t matter a bit if our attitudes aren’t right.
2. Studying the Bible gives you a roadmap for your goals.
I’ve been doing a lot of productivity research lately, and one of the main points is always to know where you want to go. Having goals isn’t any good unless you know where you’re going. The problem is that most people DON’T know where they’re going. They might have some vague idea of a few big things they dream of happening, but they don’t really have a concrete vision for their lives.
Studying the Bible helps you put things in perspective. It reminds you of what is important eternally and what won’t last longer than this world. For example: when you know the Bible, you know that getting rich is the worst goal you can have--but learning to manage your resources wisely is one of the most important.
3. Studying the Bible gives you the boundaries you need.
Knowing where you’re going is important, but it’s almost as important to know where you DON’T want to go. Having too many options gives us “analysis paralysis.” We really do need boundaries because they tell us, “You don’t have to worry about this right now. Just focus on what’s in front of you.” When you live your life God’s way, you don’t have to wonder if stealing is a viable life-model (it’s NOT!) so you don’t have to even consider it as an option. The Bible sets clear boundaries about what is not acceptable or moral, so you don’t have to waste brain space thinking about them.
4. Studying the Bible gives you hope for the future.
The future is one of the scariest things in the universe. We like to know everything in advance and we freak out when there’s too many variables to control. But when we study the Bible and learn about God’s character, we come to understand that God is the One who controls the future. We still don’t know what’s going to happen. But we DO know Who is going to happen. God is good. Therefore, our futures will be good. (Not convinced? Look up Jeremiah 29:11)
5. Studying the Bible gives you a warning for your actions.
Sometimes, we have to learn things the hard way. It’s just human nature. But God kindly put warnings in the Bible about the consequences of our actions so we would know what we’re getting ourselves into. People do some dumb things, and it’s mostly because they don’t think about the consequences. What is likely to happen if you jump off your roof with only a towel? Duh. But people don’t think about that. The Bible is full of warnings to MAKE you think about it. Roof-jumpers, beware! 😉
6. Studying the Bible helps you build the most important relationships in your life.
I’ve said it before, and you’ll hear me say it again: the most important relationship in your life is the one between you and God. When you are square with God, all the other relationships in your life will fall into place as well. Having a family is one of the greatest blessings we get in this life, and building strong relationships with them is a full-time job. (Truuuust me. 😉 ) But you won’t be able to build a solid relationship unless you have a solid foundation: your friendship with God.
Interested in learning more about Bible study? The Thrive Resource Library is full of reading plans, schedules, + cheat sheets to help you get a head start on 2017. Click here for access!