(Number 1 in the Series: 10 Habits of Christian Faithfulness)
A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions.
Character is influenced and developed by our choices.
Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a).
It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us.
Choices repeated become habits.
In order for a person to develop and have a Christian Character, specific habits must be developed.
The first foundation of a Christian Character is built through Bible Study.
Regular, systematic, feeding of the mind with the Word of God.
Think of yourself as a garden.
Whether or not you are an experienced gardener or farmer, you can follow this comparison.
Gardens have soil which contains nutrients.
To get the best results from your plants, you will use the best soil available.
Plants begin as seeds.
To get the best results growth and crop, you will select high quality seeds.
Weeds and crowding are not good for the plants.
You will regularly remove weeds, cultivate the soil around the plants, and thin the crop when crowding is hindering the development of fruit.
Many plants need support so the fruit is not damaged by lying on the ground. The plants can also be damaged by fruit that gets too large for the stems to hold without breaking. So support is provided.
Even in the best of garden soil, weeds and wind-blown seeds will sprout in the fertile soil.
Also, pests will be eager to feast on the plants as young fruits.
Weeds and pests are regularly identified and removed so that the fruit can be the best possible result of your work.
Even when I do all of these farmer tasks, I have no ability to make the seeds spring to life, and blossoms to appear.
Rain, Sun, Air temperature, Beneficial Pollinators, Making the flower turn into a mature fruit.
The Life Principle is present only because of and through God.
(Be careful not to carry the analogy too far.)
Let’s say the Bible is the Garden.
It is the soil, the nutrients, the seeds, the plants, the rain, the sun, the air, the pollinators, the fruit, the harvest.
Without Bible Study we miss the development that produces a harvest.
Church provides a small dose of Bible Study.
But if that is all you’re getting …
It might be kind of like watching a romantic movie with your loved one, and counting that as expressing your love for him or her. You go on your way, and life is good while you wait for the next movie to be on next week.
Church time is unlikely to result in your personal habit of Bible study. There’s no quiz, and everyone is happy that you came. So you feel good.
But, by Tuesday, most people cannot even recall the sermon topic and the texts used by the preacher.
Personal Bible Study is Imperative to Christian Character Development and Growth!
Like any Habit, the action must be repeated over and over until you discover that you are naturally doing it.
When is the best time?
How do I keep track of where I’m reading?
What do I read next?
What do I do with what I’m discovering?
I recommend a Bible App or a printed study guide.
Be careful with an App on your phone. It’s convenient, but you can get interrupted by calls or distracted by another app that you enjoy.
I like Olive Tree app.
You select a time that you know will be available without interruptions. This is one reason why so many people choose an early morning time…
Carve out the time. Covenant with God that this is His and Your Time. Ask Him to remind you and to protect the time from interruptions.
If you decide to read Cover-To-Cover, read from both Old and New Testaments each time. An Internet search will provide you with the number of chapters to read each day – a schedule.
But, there is no real advantage to making it through the whole Bible in one year.
The Benefit is in the Journey – the Time with God each day.
The Sabbath School Quarterly is a great addition to include. It is also available on-line.
What to do with your new-found knowledge?
Participate in a Bible Study group – Like a Sabbath School class.
Habit forming takes time. Add prayer to your time with the Bible. Ask specifically that the Habit happens. If you will be faithful every day, within a month you will have formed the Bible Habit.
Remember, the Bible is one main way that God talks with us.
The conversation is worth the time and effort.
Share your experiences with becoming and being a Student of the Word.
Email me or Comment.
Eldon.roberts at Gmail.com