Opposed to many sincerely unkept New Year’s Resolutions about going to the gym or starting a new diet, I decided to try something else this year. At the end of 2016 I looked at myself and said, “I do not want to go to the gym or stop eating my favorite foods, but I would like to make a resolution anyway.” After all, that seemed to be the thing to do at the start of a new year.
Since 2017 began on a Sunday, I felt that whatever I chose to do I would need to follow through with because it was both a fresh start to the new year and to the new week all at the same time. So, I decided I would track how many minutes of every day I would spend studying God’s Word.
This was my first New Year’s Resolution and even my wife thought I would not continue tracking my time after the first couple of weeks given the statistics for Resolutions. Nevertheless, after 365 days of carrying around index cards to write down my time, I am proud to say that I have kept my New Year’s Resolution for 2017!
Hip! Hip! Hooray! As the choir plays their kazoos.
Why Did I Do This?
I did this so that I could see how much time I actually spend in God’s Word. The Bible speaks of a tithe in which we give ourselves to God. This tithe includes everything from our money and gifts and abilities to, yes, even our time. Since tithe also means a “tenth” I wanted to see whether or not I dug into God’s Word at least 10% of my time. The reality is both insightfully discouraging and inspirationally encouraging.
It is insightfully discouraging because, as you can see, I did not spend 10% of my time filling my mind with the Truth of God’s Word. It scares me to think of how much of my life is filled with fantasy and false realities (through movies, Facebook, etc.) and yet, only 9% of my time is focused on what is real. However, the numbers in the chart are also inspirationally encouraging because I see that I spent over 9% of my time, better translated as 797 hours, learning from God’s Word this last year.
What Was Included?
This does not include singing or praying or anything else. The times listed in the above chart are only when I was studying the Bible. However, I did generally include the following:
1. Reading Scripture
2. Listening to Sermons
3. Reading Books About the Bible
What Did I Learn?
Obviously, because life is life, I had some really high weeks and some really low weeks. I learned that during the low weeks, when I studied the least, I struggled more with temptation to sin. It was during the days when I spent little to even no time in God’s Word when evil thoughts would come into my mind. On the flip side, as my wife can surely attest, it was during those high weeks in which I believe I honored and loved my wife the most.
It would be easy for some to say that I was able to study this much because I am currently in Seminary. However, I would like the record to show that I did not begin Seminary until late August and, as can be seen in the chart above, I spent more time in God’s Word when I was not in Seminary. If anything, my time in God’s Word only decreased while in Seminary because of all of the other subject matter vying for my time.
How Am I Challenging You?
If you make a New Year’s Resolution, then try to be realistic. No, not pessimistic; realistic. If you are up to the challenge, then I would ask you to track your time spent in God’s Word for this coming year. 2018 begins on a Monday which, just like last year, is a good time to start something awesome.