A Plan for the New Year
The start of a new year always signals new plans and goals. Whether it’s a resolution to lose weight and work out more, or to learn a new skill, or kick a bad habit, the turn of the calendar page beckons hopes for improvement. I would like to offer up a plan that would help any of accomplish such goals. When people ask me if I make any New Year’s resolutions, I usually respond that I want to be more like Jesus in the next year than I was in the previous year. Now that may sound vague, but it is meant to as there are many ways in which we can be more like Jesus, whether it’s being more forgiving, gracious, loving, etc. but there is only one way in which we can know how to be more like Jesus and that is by getting to know Jesus better through His word.
So, my challenge for us all this year is to become more familiar with God’s word in 2022. This won’t happen accidentally. We need a plan, and we need accountability. There are several ways this can be accomplished. Many of you may be familiar with Bible reading plans that take you through the Bible in a year. One of my favorites is the Robert Murray M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan, which guides you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice throughout the year. Pastor Gregg has recommended the Chronological Reading Plan, which takes you through the books of the Bible in the order in which they were written. There are a number of other plans that you can do online, through a mobile Bible app, or simply printing off a checklist that will help keep you accountable.
In addition to the “Through the Bible in a Year” plans, author Nate Pickowicz offers up a longer term plan to help the Scriptures sink in. Pickowicz came up with the idea for this plan after seeing the reading plan in his MacArthur Study Bible. This plan is centered around a focused study of a selection of books at a time which can lead to having “read each book of the New Testament thirty times over three years.” He provides an outline in the appendix of his book that can serve as a guide to this long-term approach.
Regardless of which type of plan you choose, the idea is to pick a plan and stick with it. Much like choosing a method for budgeting your finances, whether you prefer a traditional “line item budget” or the Dave Ramsey “envelope” approach, whatever method you choose only works if you stick to it.
But the point is not to be able to check off a box at the end of the day that says you did your daily Bible reading. It’s not an exercise in legalism, tangible proof that you are fulfilling your duties as a Christian. The point is to grow in our love for God’s word, knowing that the Bible changes us, from the moment of salvation and all throughout our journey in walking with the Lord. We must learn to love God’s word because it is through our time in Scripture that we learn to love God more deeply.
Let us commit to spending more time with God and His word in 2022 in order that we might grow closer to Him and begin to look more like Him.
Soli deo gloria,