In a couple of weeks, I will have read through the Bible in one year. This is a goal that I have had for the last few years, but good intentions seemed to always turn into failed objectives. I would start the year out strong, start slacking off around mid-February, and then completely give up by March. I would continue to read and study, but always shorter reading plans without getting through the entire Bible.
I was determined this year that I would finally accomplish my goal. I don’t know that it’s necessary for spiritual growth to have read through the Bible in one year, but I felt like it would stretch me in my spiritual disciplines.
As you think about setting spiritual goals for 2014, here are a few things that I did to help keep me on pace:
1. Get up earlier.
I am admittedly not a morning person. My standard line of “not enough time in the morning”, was just a lazy excuse to not discipline myself to get to bed earlier at night so that I can start my day earlier in the morning. I started backing my alarm back 15 minutes a week until that was no longer an issue.
2. Choose a reading plan that is a mix of Old and New Testament.
I will concede that not every book in the Old Testament is a Suzanne Collins page turner. I am not always sure why I needed to know that Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah; but if I know that the next passage on the plan is a story about Jesus – the fulfillment of the begats – I will keep reading.
3. Don’t give up if I miss a couple of days.
I would occasionally miss a couple of days of reading. Instead of beating myself up and eventually giving up on it, I would gradually catch back up through a weekend of extra reading. YouVersion.com also has a great feature where you can have your plan adjust to where you are. This helps you not get depressed if the date is behind a few days or weeks.
4. Make it a routine.
It helped me to know that almost every morning I would do my reading at the exact same time/place and on the same device. The only times that I struggled were when that routine got disrupted.
5. Have accountability
What has helped me stay on track the most is having my wife do it with me. She has her own reading plan, and we often share what we are learning along the way. I love getting her perspective on a passage that I am struggling with.