As a college student, I have learned the importance of disciplining yourself to get things done. To get things done, I have to write out all of my assignments, make a schedule on when I’ll get things done, and set aside time for hanging out with friends and family. If I don’t, I’ll catch myself slacking off, procrastinating, and forgetting work. These lead to more stress, which leads to me getting sick and having to cut out time with friends. I learned that it took both a will and effort to get through college well. That same concept is applied to our faith. We have to spiritually discipline ourselves to read God’s Word, to pray, and to commune with other believers. Donald Whitney opens his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life with the statement “Discipline without direction is drudgery.” Before you begin to simply force yourself to read the Word and pray, you might want to consider why you are doing it. It’s like an athlete knowing that all their practice will guarantee to win the championship or a musician knowing that their hard work would earn them performance in Maddison Square Garden. Once we know that the outcome of our spiritual disciplines is becoming like Christ, we can know that it is all worth it. The ultimate goal of spiritually disciplining ourselves is Christlikeness. So, why is staying in God’s Word something that is so important to be considered a spiritual discipline? Reading the Bible helps us learn and understand, helps us grow, and encourage us. Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light on our path. God’s Word gives us direction and Psalm 1:2-3 tell us that meditating on the law is like being a tree planted by the stream of water, so it wields fruit and does not wither. Just in these few verses can we see that reading the Bible helps us understand and grow. In the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews says that the Word is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the diving asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is living and powerful. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Without the Bible, we wouldn’t be able to have access to Christ’s saving words, we wouldn’t be able to have direction, we would be missing an essential part of our faith.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”