The Bible makes it pretty clear that it’s important. We are to abide in God’s word, not just know that it exists and we’ll get to it later. Not only is it from God, a part of God, and is God (John 1:1), it’s essential to have a spiritually healthy life (Matthew 4:4). We are instructed to abide in God’s word so that we bear much fruit for the father’s glory. Apart from him, we are nothing:
“1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Our Excuses Mean Nothing To God
So, why is it that our quiet time with God’s word is the first thing to go when we get busy? While we are chasing kids and tackling chores, cooking meals, chauffeuring little people to practice/recital/tournaments, the Bible gets dusty and our prayers get stale. I personally use the excuse, “I can’t read the Bible now because I’ll just be thinking about the pile of dishes in the sink. Let me do those first.” I repeat this excuse for all of the chores. Then, when it’s the end of the day, I’m too tired to open the Bible. “I’ll abide in God’s word tomorrow when I’m rested.” Then the cycle starts over.
These excuses mean nothing to God. The fact that dirty dishes took precedence over the Savior who died on the cross for me is more than just embarrassing; it’s criminal. I’m so very thankful that I am loved despite my selfish, sinful ways.
So, instead of continuing the vicious cycle of squeezing Jesus out of our busy days, let’s fight to keep him in it. We need to find creative ways to abide in God’s word because it’s the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for our families. Our little ones are looking to us to see how they should interact with the Bible. If we never touch it while bringing them up, the chances of them doing so when they are grown are drastically diminished.
7 Ideas to Creatively Abide in God’s Word
Here are a handful of ways to creatively abide in God’s word throughout your day. If these don’t work for you, adjust them or come up with your own creative solutions that fit your family’s situation. There is no wrong way to spend time with God – just do it!
- Wake up 10-15 minutes earlier. Seriously. It may seem like I’m suggesting you cut off your right arm…because, who wants to lose even a minute less of sleep? But the energy and joy you will get from your quiet time with God are guaranteed to outweigh the benefits of an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Try it for a week and see how it goes. What do you have to lose (besides the few minutes of sleep)?
- Memorize scripture with your kids. The verses you choose to memorize with your kids will depend on how old they, but children at any age are great memorizers! They learn to count to 10 and can recite favorite bedtime stories word for word as young as two years old simply by repetition and because you make it fun. Use those same effective tactics with Bible verses. For young ones, choose simple verses like Psalm 119:11: “I have hidden my word in your heart, that I might not sin against you.” For older children, choose verses with a little more complexity or a set of verses like Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Memorize the scriptures right along with them and you’ll be enjoying God’s word together.
- Sing! Even if you sound more like an ogre than an angel, songs are easier to remember than just reciting words. Many Christian hymns and contemporary music are written using scriptures (many Casting Crowns songs, for example). You can also make up your own tune to a favorite Bible verse. It doesn’t have to be worthy of an American Music Award. It can just be between you and God. Although, song is another great tool to help kids memorize scripture too!
- Read to your kids from the actual Bible. Some Children’s Bibles are awesome. BUT, your kids need to understand that the Bible is different than the other picture books on their bookshelf. Reading them the REAL Bible, without pictures, is a great way to get them to understand just how important it is. It doesn’t matter what you read to them, so just read what you’d like to read. Keep to short chunks, maybe only a chapter a day, discuss it with them afterwards, and pray together. If you make time for daily story time with your kids, just tag this onto to the existing routine. You get time with the Lord and so do they. Win-win!
- Leave Bible verses around the house. I know some families have decorated their homes with Bible verses on prominent display. I personally have a chalkboard that I write verses on and change every once in awhile. I know other families that don’t like using Bible verses as decoration. That’s OK – there is no right or wrong to home decor. You can hide verses around your house using sticky notes in inconspicuous places (like inside the pantry door or above the laundry hamper), or placed for all to see on a prominently placed wooden plaque. Read the verse over and over again throughout your day, just as you happen to see it. Really meditate on it and pray about it while you are doing your daily routine. God may speak to you in different ways through the same verse over time.
- Listen to an Audio Bible while you are doing those mundane, everyday tasks. Driving, showering, chopping veggies for dinner, folding laundry, loading the dishwasher, cleaning up 7,534 legos – we have to do them all. Our minds usually wander and think about who-knows-what during these times. Why not engage in actively listening to God’s word instead? Download the YouVersion app on your phone for free audio on many versions!
- Do family Bible study during dinner time. This is a toughy with really young kids but the sooner you start the routine the easier it will get to make it a sustainable habit. Read Old Testament stories and discuss the connection to Jesus or read excerpts from the New Testament and pray about how your family can reflect Christ. Make it fun based on what your family enjoys.
Notice that none of the creative ways to abide in God’s word mention devotionals, commentaries, podcasts, or talking with a mentor. Those things are wonderful, but are not as important and cannot replace your interaction with the Bible and prayer. God always comes first, so make sure to get your direct time with God settled, then you can add in the other stuff.
Have other ideas for creatively abiding in God’s word throughout your day? We’d love to hear them! Leave a comment to share with the Messy Tired Love community.