The thing you need more than more time

I had a light bulb spiritual moment the other day.

My friend and I were reflecting on the past summer, sharing struggles and spiritual victories and, most important, asking one another the question, “How’s your soul?” During that conversation, we both admitted that our regular time in the Word had slipped, despite the fact that our summers offered both of us a slower pace at work and a few extra days at home.

Think about that—The more time we had, the less Bible we read.

Why would that be?  

Perhaps because the key to strong spiritual habits is not time but . . . habits. Even though we had extra time, the summer had convinced us to change our habits—to ignore the faithful buzz of the alarm clock, to adjust the morning routine of shower/coffee/breakfast, to give up the “now or not until tomorrow” reality of Bible reading. When we replaced those habits with big blocks of unstructured time—who would have thought?—the Holy Bible didn’t happen.

To put it another way, when God gave us less time, we read the Bible more.

That realization took me back to one of the smartest humans I have ever met, a seasoned professor from the seminary I attended. He had a robust and intense plan to read the Bible, which he challenged students and fellow professors to follow.  

There was one part of his plan, however, that seemed weak to me—He marked every vacation day as a day off.

At the time, that seemed backward. Vacation is the time to catch up on all the stuff that got bumped during the busy season, Bible reading included. But now I realize that he possessed a wisdom that only experience can provide.

The whole situation made me think about Paul’s warning: “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments” (Colossians 2:4). The enemy’s argument sounds so convincing when you’re racing through the day—You are just too busy for the Bible. In reality, busyness is the smoke screen he uses to keep us away from the source of life—Jesus.

I’m not sure what stage of busy you are in—the busyness of college and work, the busyness of a new career, the busyness of buying your first home or planning a wedding or raising kids or trying to retire. I have a hunch that “busy” is the right word to describe the stage, no matter what your age.

Which is why I want to share some wisdom I learned from a really smart human—Busy people can read the Bible. They don’t need more time. They just need a new habit. 

I’ll spare you the steps on how to build new routines and rhythms into your life (Google is good at that, so feel free to ask!). Rather, let me leave you not with the how of Bible reading but with the why—to be with God.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, people like you can be with God. His holiness and your sin are no longer repelling forces. Instead, you can draw near to the God of love, mercy, and generosity without shame or hesitation in the name of Jesus, remover of sin and the restorer of souls (Hebrews 10:22).

In the Word, we find more than dry words on a page. We find promises of life, the very life we’ve been seeking through all of our busyness. We find love right now, acceptance right now, someone who will listen right now, a reason to live right now, power to serve right now, and a beautiful family right now.

Because in the Word, we realize that we are in Christ and that God is with us.

My hope for you is that you wouldn’t let another day go by without starting/keeping the habit to spend time with the One your heart was created to crave.

To help that happen, I am going to ask God to give you less time today.

You are welcome.

Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also serves as the lead speaker for Time of Grace, where he shares the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms. Mike loves seeing people grasp the depth of God’s amazing grace and unstoppable mercy. His wife continues to love him (despite plenty of reasons not to), and his two daughters open his eyes to the love of God for every Christian. When not talking about Jesus or dating his wife/girls, Mike loves playing soccer, running, and reading.

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