The holidays, for good or bad, are over. And once again you’re facing a new year. It’s full of new possibilities, new opportunities, blank pages, unwritten stories. It feels like a chance for a do-over, something many of us would gladly take when it comes to Bible reading. Because if we’re honest, we’re not so great at it.
You may have made resolutions in the past, maybe multiple years. You may have even found a partner and decided that accountability would make a difference. You got a great start, found a rhythm, and enjoyed it. And somewhere in Leviticus, or near the end of February, you stopped. Life got busy. The baby started waking up again. Work became more stressful. You got bored. What does this mean about you?
It means you’re human.
On Habits and Restarts
Though we may put it in a different category because of the power it holds, reading the bible is like other human activities, which means that at some point, we’ll fail. Unfortunately many of us have assigned this failure to keep a good habit or be consistent in a spiritual discipline a significance it doesn’t deserve. We’ve decided it means we don’t love Jesus, or that we’re a lesser-than disciple, or that we’re just not good at reading the Bible. Here’s what it really means: Life got busy. We are embodied souls. And embodied souls live with stress and changing circumstances, restarts and do-overs. And the restarts are just as important as the first starts…
When someone’s arrested, a rule called the “Miranda rights” requires the first words spoken to the accused to be, “You have the right to remain silent.” This right is given in order to protect the accused from bringing further incrimination upon herself. Oh, that the Holy Spirit would whisper those words to me before I speak! Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
Words. We speak them, think them, and write them. We use them to persuade, deter, build up, tear down, instruct, make someone laugh, and make someone cry. Our words shape us, shape others, and reveal what’s truly in us.
Words can bring healing . . . and they can bring deep hurt. Proverbs 18:21a says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” As people created in God’s image, our words, although not omnipotent like his, are still potent. Our words have power, not to be life-creating, but to be life-giving. Sadly, because we’re broken, sinful, and rebellious, our words also have power to destroy and be life-taking.
Do your words breathe life into others—or do they suck the life out of those around you? Do they bless and not curse, strengthen and not weaken, build up and not tear down? James says that, even though we can tame every kind of animal, no person can tame the tongue. So where do we turn? How can we become women who use our words to offer life, and healing, and hope, and help?
Because our words simply expose the reality of what’s happening in our hearts, the only hope we have is to be changed from the inside out. We need to be women who are transformed by the Word of God.
God’s Word Creates Life
Our God is a God who speaks. Speaking is the first thing we see him do in Genesis 1—and his words bring life! He spoke everything into existence: the heavens, the earth, the sun and moon, the land, the sea, the birds, and the animals. His Word brought forth life.
Once God spoke life into existence, life continued to be found in obedience to his Word. Adam and Eve were told to obey God’s good Word. Their obedience didn’t earn them all of God’s good provisions; God had freely given them everything they needed. Obedience to his Word simply meant they would continue to experience everything he had graciously given…