If you would have asked me during my early childhood years, I would have said that I’m growing up in a Christian family. Decades later I know that the home I grew up in was rather a traditional than a real Christ-committed one. I often dwell on the thought of what would have happened had I been raised in a truly Christian home.
I’ll have to admit, my grandma did have a great influence in my life. Thanks to her, my parents prayed the same children’s prayer with me before bedtime: Müde bin ich geh’ zur Ruh’. We prayed together up until I was about ten years old. Then I was on my own. I kept on praying every evening, trying to find the right words that would please God. I loved to talk to the LORD and I felt safe each night, no matter what. However, I went off the path a couple of years later. What happened, you ask? I’ll have to save that for another day’s blog post (it’s too long of a story for today’s post).
My grandma also set an example, not so much for my parents but for me, to read God’s Word. She would get up very early in the morning and sneak out of the bedroom to sit at the dining table and read her Bible. Sadly, she never explained why she was reading it and she never read God’s Word to her grandchildren. However, seeing her sitting at the table with her Bible open in front of her is a picture I’ll now never should forget.
I say now, because for the first two decades of my life I had not been reading, studying and memorizing God’s Word. Nobody has told me about the Bible, nor how important, lifesaving and life-changing its message would be for me. That’s why, in so many ways, I often felt like the ring-buoy I always needed had been stolen, kept from me, and therefore my (new) life in Christ had been lost for such a long time…
If you do have small children or grandchildren, please do read the Word of God to them – even if it’s only a small portion a day. Help them to memorize verses and bigger parts of it. Sing Bible songs with them. Guide them to the Source Of Life so they will know where to go to once they left home.
Do you play an instrument? Then you know how your eyes will read the notes and/or chords while your hands are playing the music. Your eyes don’t have to translate what they read for your hands. Your hands will automatically play the notes and chords — without thinking.
If you are not a musician, perhaps you are doing some sort of sport? My husband used to play soccer. While on the field he wouldn’t think about how to take the ball or how to kick it; playing soccer just came natural to him — without thinking.
This past week, while chatting at the dinner table, my friend shared with us how she used to type a text without even knowing its content. She typed while listening to the audio recording of the words.
Once we have mastered a skill it becomes second nature to us. We do it automatically. We can look outside the window while typing on our keyboard. We can drive a car, shift gears, turn on the signal, all while listening to music along the way. Once learned, we will walk without having to think that we need to put one foot infront of the other.
When forming habits — good ones as well as bad ones — we are in danger that they become so much second nature that we are no longer thinking while we are doing them. We need to be on guard that this doesn’t happen to our daily devotions. Are we doing them so we can tick off our reading plan list? Or are we doing them to hear what our Father has to tell us?
Reading God’s Word shouldn’t be just the thing to do but should be a time well spend with the LORD. The Bible says to love the LORD our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind (Luke 10:27). If we truly love a person we want to spend time with that person, don’t we? The quantity does not count as much as the quality because we can spend a lot of time with people without thinking, without truly being mindful of them.
Don’t put yourself under pressure thinking you have to spend a certain amount of time reading your Bible every day; but when you do give it your full attention. If you wander off with your thoughts while reading go back to the verse that you last remember and read the passage again. Another thing which will help you to stay focused is to make notes: Keep a Bible Journal.
I will talk more about keeping a Bible journal in one of my next posts. So, stay tuned.