It is said that to modify our own behavior, three things are necessary: motivation, ability, and a prompt. Clearly motivation is important for changing behavior. No one will ever change if there is no desire to change. The second ingredient—ability—has to do with how easy a behavior is. The easier something is, the more likely we are to do it. The third ingredient—a prompt—is very helpful because we often need a nudge to do something even if we are highly motivated and capable. A prompt is a cue that reminds us to carry out a desired behavior. When these three ingredients are present, changing our habits for the better is much more likely.
I must admit that I do not like thinking of Bible reading merely as a “habit.” It is much more than typical habits we think of, like making the bed or exercising, etc. When we read the word of God in faith, we are truly having an encounter with God. It is a transformational experience for the soul. With that said, I do wonder if we could use the above principles of behavior modification to create a healthy habit of regular Bible reading.
Let’s start with the third component — a prompt. What if you decided that every morning when your feet hit the floor you will read just a few verses before starting the day? Or maybe the prompt could be when you turn on your computer at the office, or perhaps when you pour your first cup of coffee. Take some time to think of a prompt that will work for you.
Let’s think about the second component—ability. The easier something is, the more likely you are to do it. So, make your Bible easy to access. Place your bible on your nightstand to be easily reached. Place it on your desk at work; visible and ready to go. Also, make things easy by deciding that you will read for only, say, 5 minutes. You could always read more if you choose, but if you can read for just 5 minutes, consider it a win. If you keep just a few verses in your heart throughout the day, it will be a tremendous blessing to you.
Finally, let’s think about motivation. This should be an easy one. Think about the words of Jesus, “…the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63b NAS95) Or the words of the psalmist, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NAS95)
God’s word brings life, light, transformation, and renewal. If we will be diligent to spend time in His word on a regular basis, we will be richly blessed!
If you’re struggling to read the word regularly, perhaps these ideas will help you start down a lifelong path of blessings.