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Matthew 6:33 Hearing God’s Voice

At this time of year, many people start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. What can I do differently in the coming year to make my life better? Many plan to start diet or exercise programs, and some plan to start Bible reading programs that will take them through the Bible in one year. A lot of these Bible reading programs alternate between Old and New Testament. Some read from four different sections each day. Some read straight through from cover to cover, and others go in chronological order. In order to read the Bible completely in one year, you need to read about three or four chapters a day. I have done this a couple of times before, but I don’t intend to do it again. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good thing to read your Bible--this whole blog is built on it. I don’t think it’s wrong to read the Bible straight through either; in fact I think it’s a good idea to do so, either how it is written or in chronological order. But I don’t think that you should set yourself up for a schedule that you can’t keep, and that you will feel guilty about if you give it up. I think it is more important to forget the schedule, and read at a pace where you can stop and think, and pray, about what you are reading.

Many of you are familiar with Matthew 6:33 and the context around it. We are told not to worry about material things, what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear, because our Heavenly Father knows that we need them, but to first, above all, pursue His kingdom and righteousness, and the material things we need will be provided. The context tells us why we should put God first, and I think most of us would agree even if only for practical reasons. The problem is that most of us who have read, even memorized, this verse and agree with it, have trouble putting it into practice. So I want to talk about how we put God first. How do we get to know Him? How do we hear and know His voice? Surely His provision for us involves our cooperation. How do we follow His leading if we don’t know where He is directing us?

Rather than following a reading plan that will take you through the Bible in one year, why not make a commitment of how much time you will spend each day reading the Bible and in prayer. Why not try to get to know God, to understand Him. Many people pray for God to speak to them, to guide them on the next step of their journey. Do they expect to hear a booming voice from heaven with the answer telling them what they should do? Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not about religion, and following a list of rules, especially self-prescribed rules, it is about having a relationship, being adopted into a new family. How can you get to know that family if you don’t spend time with them? Reading the Bible, just for the sake of getting through it, and not really paying attention to it or considering how it could change your life, would be like having a conversation with someone while you’re daydreaming about something else. If you want to improve the relationship, you have to listen. For those of you who are waiting for God to speak to you, He already has—volumes.

6 thoughts on “Matthew 6:33 Hearing God’s Voice

  1. Rowena

    Last year I read the Bible in one year on my phone and I found I rushed through my readings for the day and barely retained what I read. I also got bogged down with genealogies and figures in the Old Testament. This year I've decided to take my time to understand each chapter thoroughly, meditate on it and not feel the pressure of rushing through. I agree that spending more time with God should be a priority and that's what I plan on doing!

    "Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not about religion, and following a list of rules, especially self-prescribed rules, it is about having a relationship, being adopted into a new family. " <--Amen! I love this sentence!

    1. LC

      Exactly Rowena! I had the same problem. There really isn't much point in reading it at all if you don't process anything you read. The Bible has the power to change your life, but only if you take the time to think about it and act on it.

      YouVersion (a free Bible app for smart phones) has a lot of different reading plans ranging in length from a few days to all year and ranging from a few verses to a few chapters a day. You can choose them by book or by topic, and you could follow the plan without following the schedule--go at your own pace. Lots of flexibility; it's what I use on my phone.

      I also love our reading group on Twitter. I think it's great to read a chapter a day and then post our thoughts. If several different people post their thoughts it really has the potential to broaden our perspectives. I think it is time to choose a new book for that. Any recommendations or requests?

  2. Rowena

    I will check out the Youversion study plans on my phone, thanks!

    I've always wanted to study the book of Ephesians in more detail because it talks about spiritual warfare quite a bit, which is something relatively new to me but very important! Even though it's a very short book, I think there's a substantial amount of discussion topics in it.

    1. LC

      That's very interesting--and excellent! I told Deborah in November that I wanted to read Luke in December and Ephesians in January. So let's start next week; that will give me a few days to invite others to join us. Ephesians is six chapters long, so let's read a chapter a day starting Monday, January 9. Does that sound good to you?

  3. Rowena

    Oh wow, this is definitely not a coincidence then! Monday January 9 is a great date to start, I'll make a note of it:) Also, I wonder if you have considered having Bible book studies on your blog. Twitter is a great resource but sometimes the 140 character limit is hard to work with!

    1. LC

      That's a really good idea Rowena. I'll have to think about the best way to set that up, but you're right; it would be easier to have a conversation on the blog than on Twitter. And I agree that it is not a coincidence!

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