It's become traditional for people to begin each new year by resolving to do things differently. Whether it's to stop smoking, to lose weight, to get fit or something else, every resolution is made with a goal in mind.
With this in mind, it's good for the Christian to make resolutions too. Lets face it, not one of us is sinless: that's why we followed Christ in the first place. While we are no longer mastered by sin we are still prone to getting ourselves tangled up in it. Knowing God's word - the Bible - can help us avoid getting into sin in the first place. But if you're already in a mess it can also help you get untangled.
In his sermon entitled, Breaking Free from Sin, John McArthur challenges us that knowing and memorising scripture is vital in the fight against sin in our lives.
It’s an absolute vital part of spiritual living if I’m going to deal with entangled sin, to put the Word of God to work in my life, it becomes the agency by which the Spirit of God gives me direction. Listen to Proverbs 22 verse 17, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you will keep them within you that they may be ready on your lips so that your trust may be in the Lord. I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things, of counsels and knowledge to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer to him who sent you?"
In other words, that’s how you live your life. The truth is made available. Take it in, store it up that it might be a resource for you in the spiritual issues of life.
So we have to realize that if we’re going to deal with sin, first of all, that it’s going to be the work of the Spirit and the Spirit uses the Word. And if I am not involved in putting the Word of God to work in my life, learning it, memorizing it, understanding it and applying it, I am never going to deal with entangling sin. And I’m going to cultivate habits of unrighteousness that I will battle all my life long and thus I will forfeit potential power and ministry, as well as joy."
Whether it's the beginning of a new year or not, decide today to make your resolution a righteous one. Plan to read your Bible every day. Better yet, why not try to memorise some of it while you do so? There are many resources available online to help you keep on track with this endeavour and we've listed a few links below. Some you can download and print, others have an app that you can download to your phone and use from there.
The important thing is that you resolve to read your Bible at all!
When choosing a Bible reading plan make sure that you select on that actually lets you read the Bible, not just someone else's thoughts about the Bible.
Bible Gateway will take you through the entire Bible in a year. You can choose which version of the Bible you prefer but you'll need to read it on their website. Alternatively you can have each day's reading emailed to you for convenience in either NIV or King James version.
YouVersion.com has plans that cover the whole Bible in a year and others that cover a shorter period of time. They also have shorter thematic reading plans for young people. The content is available after a free subscription and there's an accompanying app for all major OS's including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.
NavPress plans allow for a 5 day week giving you the weekends to catch up or for further study. They also have two that will let you read the entire Bible in a year. Their plans are downloadable as PDF documents which you can print.
Zondervan offers reading plans based on your Bible knowledge. If you're completely new to the Bible this may be a good place to start as they provide some plans that give an overview of the Bible as well.
Let us know how you get on.