It’s a new year and you’ve resolved to dig down in Bible study. Maybe you’re reading through the Bible for the first time this year (Yay you! One of the best things I’ve ever done.) Or you’ve signed up to join a group in a new study (hello, accountability). I’ve heard from many of you doing my 100 Days with Christ study in the gospels (it’s free for you!).
Maybe this is how you pictured it –
The alarm goes off 30 minutes early and you hop out of bed, eager to get into the Word. The coffee pot has a hot mug ready you, and wrapped in your coziest fleece, you lean into the recliner with Bible, journal and pens. The house is pin-drop still and for 30 glorious minutes, it’s just you, God and his refreshing Word. Afterward, you wake your children with smiles, send your husband off with a kiss and tackle the day’s to-do list with joy.
Let’s be serious. We all know most mornings don’t go like that.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and our best evening prep, our Bible study gets sabotaged.
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These sabotages can completely derail our Bible study. Surely the enemy intends to completely derail our Bible study.
When my Bible study time is sabotaged, it catches me short. But we ought to expect that kind of warfare for our Bible study time. The enemy knows keeping us out of the Word is the door that opens a host of other defeats.
Let’s beat him at his own game. Let’s take the surprise out of Bible study sabotage and look at 3 ways to beat Bible study dropout.
The day starts beautifully. You have a wonderful morning in the Word. The verses seem written just for you as God unpacks powerful, personal truth you so desperately need. It’s devo time as it’s meant to be and you close your Bible refreshed and invigorated to take on the day.
And oh, what a day it turns out to be. The kids bicker through breakfast, the battery goes out on the van, you miss your run, spend untold hours untangling an insurance issue and a work email leaves you reeling.
A lot of good that Bible study did, you grumble falling into bed. If this is what a day with Bible study looks like, not sure I want to keep doing it.
Sabotage Solution #1
It’s all about flipping our perspective.
Getting into the Word isn’t a prophylactic for the hard things in life. Raising kids will test us, life has its irritations and relationships will stretch us. A morning Bible study doesn’t make all that magically disappear.
Time spent in the Word isn’t meant to prevent hard days but prepare us for the hard in our days.
So rather than ditching Bible study because “it’s not working” and we still encounter irritable children, unhappy bosses and car problems, let God use his Word to till the compact soil of our heart and mind so we’re ready to meet whatever the day holds.
The alarm goes off and you swing out of bed on time. Check.
You’ve got your coffee, cozy fleece and you’re headed to the recliner. Check.
You open your Bible only to hear a muffled cry: “Mooooooom, I threw up.” Uncheck.
Your day starts without any quiet time. You move from one thing to the next, through lunch and then onto school pickup, all with a growing gnawing that you need Bible study but you can’t get there.
Sabotage Solution #2
While I firmly believe morning is the best time for Bible study, it’s not the only time for Bible study. As a mom of many, there were years with lots of littles when quiet mornings were nonexistent. Up-all-night nursings ran into pre-dawn breakfasts for toddlers and the day started without any pin-drop stillness whatsoever.
That gnawing to do Bible study is not God berating us for missing him but wooing us to go to him. Oh, how he knows we need his Word!
When the day starts before I get to Bible study, I vow not to read anything else before reading his Word. That means no scrolling on my phone, no getting on email, no picking up a magazine.
It may be after lunch, but my first reading will be the Bible. If I can’t get to Bible study first thing in the morning, I can make Bible study the first thing I read.
It’s been a busy week. Make that a busy few weeks. You started out doing Bible study each morning, but life caught up with you — first one thing and then another until you realize you are a full 7 days behind on your Bible reading plan.
One temptation is to throw in the towel now. Just give up and start again next year.
Another temptation is to try and double up readings to catch up. But doubled up reading makes Bible study a matter of sheer perseverance. There’s no time for personal application or chasing down questions. You notice God isn’t speaking so deeply anymore as you grit your way through. Plus, you feel perpetually behind and daily lose the drive to stay with it.
Sabotage Solution #3
First, ditch the guilt. God will not love you more for doing daily Bible study and cannot love you less when you don’t. Getting into the Word is his gift for you.
Second, when I’ve missed multiple days from a reading plan, I’ve found it’s better to jump back into the current day’s reading and continue moving forward. If I have time, I can pick up missed days, but otherwise, I just keep moving forward.
Grace in your Bible study will keep it a rich, heart-filling get-to rather than a burdensome, life-emptying have-to.
We have an enemy of souls who would love nothing more than to derail our best Bible study intentions.
Our time in the Word with God is worth fighting for. And we CAN prevail. Because greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.