My friend, I want to help you learn how to make a very important decision in your life. You know, the decisions you make are very important, and you must ensure that you are making correct decisions. And I want to actually ask something of you.
I would ask you to make a decision to read your Bible every day.
Now, what I am not doing is asking you to feel like it, because any time you depend on your feelings before you do something, you’re not going to do it. That’s just the truth. For example, if you depend on your feelings to exercise or diet, then you never will. In the same way, if you depend on your feelings about reading your Bible every day, it will never happen.
So, regardless of how you feel, you must make a decision that just like you brush your teeth every day, you are going to read you Bible. If God wants this of you, then you just do it. It’s a choice that you make.
Now, somebody might say, “Well, Rick, you’re in the ministry. It’s easy for you to read your Bible.” Friend, I want to tell you, the easiest place in the world to backslide is in the ministry. It’s absolutely the truth. Do you know why that is? It’s because in the ministry, you are in holy things all the time and you can easily become very numb or insensitive to the things of God.
You know, I deal with things just like you do. When I wake up every morning, I have messages on my phone and emails waiting for me. I watch the news and receive phone calls. I have all kinds of things that can very easily distract me. So, I’ve had to decide that before any food goes in my mouth, the Word of God is going to go in my heart. I made that personal rule about eleven years ago and I live by it. I just made a decision, and it became a discipline.
You may say, “Well, I’ve tried this and failed, and I don’t even want to commit to do it again because I’ll probably fail again.”
I would encourage you not to give up! God has victory in mind for you, and He wants you to go to new places in your spiritual life.
And look at the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13. He says:
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but here’s what I’m going to do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before.
When Paul says, “I count not,” it really means to keep a record of what you have done. And even Paul, whom we would say was a spiritual giant, says “Hey, when I look at the facts, I see I’ve not done everything that I was supposed to do. But rather than lamenting it, and moaning, and groaning,” he said:
13 …here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to forget the things that are behind.
That word “behind” describes something that is obsolete and no longer relevant. It no longer has any application. Paul is saying, “What is behind me, it is in yesterday. It is irrelevant. There’s nothing I can do about it therefore, I’m going to leave it there.”
In fact, he even says he’s going to forget. And that word “forget” is rarely used in the Bible, but it’s meaning is so strong. When Paul says, “Forgetting”, this is literally what he means:
I’m going to turn away from and forget what is behind me. Those things that are irrelevant, I’m going to put them aside. What was in my yesterday, I’m going to deliberately ignore. I’m going to purposely disregard it and completely forget it. It is finished and done away with it. It is obsolete and no longer applicable. It is not who I am today.
That is so powerful! My friend, aren’t you glad that who you were yesterday is not who you are today? That is good news!
You know, it’s just a fact that you cannot fix everything in the past. There are some relationships you cannot restore and some mistakes you made, that you cannot change. There is nothing you can do about it; Some things are already gone and unfixable. But the Bible makes an amazing statement when it tells us in the Book of Ephesians that we can redeem time.
Ephesians 5:16 KJV
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Isn’t that amazing? It literally means we can buy back time! And let me tell you how to do it.
When you focus on today, and do what is right today, God will supernaturally help you make up for all of your mistakes and all of your wasted time.
And that’s why Paul says:
13 …rather than live in the past, I’m going to reach forth to the things that are in front of me.
Oh, that is so powerful! “Reaching forth” is a picture of a racer who’s running. He’s not just sitting on the side thinking about running. No, he has jumped into the race, and he’s running toward a definite goal.
And this phrase, “reaching forth” is the picture of a runner who’s reaching hard, pushing forward. His chest is forward and he’s really giving it everything he’s got.
Now, if you’re turning around looking at your past and thinking about everything that you have done wrong and all the mistakes you’ve made, then you’re just living in your past and you are paralyzed from reaching forth into what is before you. If that’s you then make the decision to do what Paul says and forget those things behind and reach forth!
Remember that what happened yesterday cannot be fixed so you must deliberately ignore it, turn away from it and instead look at what is in front of you. Today is in front of you! And God has prepared lot of wonderful things that are right in front of you.
Now, I’ll tell you, in my personal life right now, I can see very clearly what’s in front of me and where I’m going. I can see the goal, and this helps me to make decisions.
When you can see something, it really brings clarity to your life.
Now, I want to go back to making the decision to read your Bible daily. And I want to tell you, when it comes to making that decision, or doing anything for that matter, you need a concrete goal to shoot towards. The Bible is just too big. You might wonder: where do I begin? How much do I need to read?
You need to make a concrete goal because if you don’t have something concrete or something you can see and shoot for, then you will never get started. And I’m going to tell you, that when you get started with any goal, start with something that is realistic. Just start with a few verses, and then, push the goal a little further. You might start off reading a whole chapter. Eventually, you’ll be able to push the goal a little further and read a couple of chapters. Or you could start off reading for five minutes and then move it up to ten minutes. Just do what you can do but have a goal that is achievable.
I am just as busy as you, but I have a concrete plan for every day of my life. And if you have no plan, it’s guaranteed that you will fail.
Now, I want to give you another verse that will support what I am telling you. In this verse, the apostle Paul is talking about how to win any victory. And he says:
1 Corinthians 9:26
26 I run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air:
Notice, he says, “I run.” That word “run” describes a runner who has jumped into the race. So, this tells us that first, you got to get in the race.
Grab your Bible. Get a Bible reading plan and jump in the race.
And Paul says —
1 Corinthians 9:26
26 I don’t run uncertainly.
That word “uncertainly” means a person who has no aim, no plan, or no direction. So, Paul tells us this is not the way to run. No, he has a concrete plan and therefore, he knows exactly where he is going.
And then he says:
1 Corinthians 9:26
26 …so fight I, not as one that beats the air.
That word “fight” is the only time it’s used in the New Testament. It’s the word for a “boxer” — a boxer that’s just furiously beating the air. It describes a shadow boxer who is swinging, but he never hits the target because he doesn’t have a goal.
That’s why you need a plan. I can guarantee that if you do not have a concrete goal, one year from now, you will be exactly where you are right now.
And do you know what happens when you stick with a plan, whether it’s reading your Bible, or exercising, or losing weight?
When you stick with your plan, you feel victorious! You just feel like you’ve mastered yourself. Sticking to a plan will just do something for you!
105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet. It is a light unto my path.
The Word of God is a light unto our feet and our path. It keeps us on the right path in life.
In Joshua 1:7, concerning the Bible:
Joshua 1:7 KJV
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
So, here we have the promise, that if you take the Word of God into your heart, you will become prosperous. And why is that? Because the Word keeps you on the right path. It is light to your steps, and it illuminates the way you think. The Bible promises that you will become prosperous when you take the Word of God into your heart. All you must do, is make the decision to continually take in God’s Word.
So, in conclusion I will leave you with this question: “Are you going to make a decision to begin reading your Bible?”
As I have said, life is all about decisions and I believe this is a decision that if you will make a goal and stick to it, will help you make it all the way to the other side of life.
This could be the most important decision that you have ever made.