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You Need a Plan

December 02, 2014Filed under theologyMarkdown source

Sometimes I feel like an idiot.

A week and a half ago, I started on a plan that will get me through the entirety of the Bible in ninety days. I’ve enjoyed it and—much more importantly—found it very helpful spiritually. My personal devotional time has been spotty the last few months, and I needed to make it a more regular part of my life.

The problem was simple: I didn’t have a plan.

Thus, feeling like an idiot. I’m very well aware in nearly every other area of my life how important a plan is. I don’t go running without a basic idea of where I want to go, and in a larger sense I don’t train for a half marathon without a basic idea not only of what my running schedule will be like for the season but also what my strategy ought to be. Nor do I tackle a semester’s worth of work without a schedule. Nor do I try to build a significant piece of software without charting out the basic approach I’ll take (and sometimes a good deal more than just the basic course). I would be silly to think I would be successful in training for a race, passing my classes, building an application, or much else in life without a basic plan.

Why, then, I have acted like I could succeed spiritually without that kind of discipline is beyond me.

The truth is, when I have a plan—nearly any plan!—for reading the Bible, I can stick to it and my devotional life tends to be fairly consistent. As anyone who has been a Christian for some time knows, personal devotions are profoundly helpful. They help us see the face of God more clearly and keep in focus the spiritual realities of our lives. We need that, given the tendency of the human heart to drift off into apathy toward our King. Apathy is dangerous. Sin is always ready for us to let down our guard and stop wholeheartedly pursuing God. Slacking off—in our meditations on his word, our prayer life, or our fellowship with the saints—will lead us steadily to ruin.

It is not so much the details of a Bible-reading plan that matters, then. It is that I have a plan, so that I stay on target. In this case, I am reading a great many chapters a day, seeking to get a grasp on the big picture of the Bible. In another, I might be working slowly through a book, trying to understand its pieces and parts and details. In yet another, I might simply read and meditate and pray over the same psalm every day for a month. The point is to seek God— diligently, hungrily, passionately; not to let up in pursuing holiness in conformity to the image of his Son; to chase the knowledge of th eholy more than I have ever chased a half marathon PR.

If I have been an idiot by failing to plan, and have been in and out of my regular devotional times, God has still been merciful to me in other means of grace: the preaching of the word, personal prayer, Scripture memory, and so on. But I am glad to have a plan. I am glad to be seeking him that much more diligently. Lord willing, I shall keep it up.