“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11
I used to have a lot of misconceptions about God’s Word. For instance, I assumed most of the Old Testament was boring, irrelevant and really hard to understand. And even though some parts are a little hard to grasp, there are so many cool stories and truths I didn’t even know were there, because I had always skimmed past them.
Starting my day by reading Scripture has been the best way for me to study consistently. I try to make sure I open my Bible before my house gets crazy – and with four kids, it does – because I know that if I wait until everyone’s awake, I most likely will not get to it. And I don’t want to just squeeze it in and “get it done,” I want to really soak in whatever truth God has for me each day.
When I start my day this way, I tend to handle life’s circumstances with much more patience, a more sound mind, and in a more controlled manner. God’s Word always gives me something to chew on, giving me a better perspective on the events of my day, whatever they may be.
When I took on the challenge of reading my Bible daily, a mentor of mine taught me something that really empowered me. He released me from the temptation to focus on checking off a box each day or to beat myself up for missing a day or two. Instead, he encouraged me to simply pursue growing closer to God while diving into – and enjoying – His Word.
Being consistent in the time I’ve spent with God in the past year has given me a much more engaging relationship with Him. I’ve realized I haven’t had as many “highs and lows” – spiritual droughts, times when I snap at my kids, or days when I feel disconnected from my wife. Because I’ve spent time with Him in the Word each day, my spirit is much more centered and I now know my relationship with Jesus is just that: a relationship. It’s not just a to-do list item I check off; I’m building a close relationship that continues to grow and encourage me. And in turn, it encourages and strengthens all of my relationships.
Reading the whole Bible over the past year had such a positive impact on my spiritual growth that I couldn’t think of a good reason not to read God’s Word each day this year too. I’m sure I missed plenty of truths my first time through, and God promises that His Word never comes back void.
– Matt Holliday, New York Yankees Designated Hitter