Right now, many are setting New Year’s resolutions. We should all be pretty good at this practice considering many of our resolutions are the same failed resolutions from the past. (Yes…I really will lose the weight!! Just like last year).
Now for Something Completely Different…
This year I’m trying something different. I’m not focusing on resolutions, but rather over all goals and practices that move me toward that goal. Our practices should be based on our goals. What do we want out of life? Who do we want to be? What are our ultimate goals? After knowing what we really want, we can try to discern what practices will move us closer to our goals.
A few years ago my goal was to know the Psalms better. While I hadn’t neglected the Psalms, I felt that I wasn’t very familiar with them. More specifically, I wanted to know them better, much better.
Since my goal was to know the Psalms, I started reading a Psalm a day. Since there are 150 Psalms, I could read through the Psalms twice in a year. I’ve been following this practice for the past few years allowing me to read through the Psalms at least four times. I know the Psalms better, but not as well as I want.
A few weeks ago, I started wondering if there was a different practice that would move me closer to my ultimate goal. I wanted to become more intimate with the Psalms and I’m not sure reading one a day was doing this.
My reflection caused me to ask, “What would happen if I spent, not a day with a Psalm, but an entire week? No one is looking over my shoulder as I read Scripture. No one is telling me I must get through the material in a certain amount of time. I haven’t found any rule telling me when to move onto the next Psalm.” That’s when I decided to read a Psalm a week.
Advantages to a New Approach
There will be many advantages to such an approach. I use Logos Bible Software as my main Bible study program. Over the years I have spent a lot of money on resources such as commentaries. If I’m spending a week on a Psalm, part of my reading could include commentary entries.
Reflecting on the Psalm the whole week plus looking at commentaries about the Psalm, will give me a deeper understanding and insight into the Psalm. This deeper insight, hopefully, will allow me to become more intimate with the Psalm moving me closer to my ultimate goal. This practice also gives me the opportunity to notice something in the Psalm that I may have missed the previous day.
Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided on a new practice that I believe will move me to a goal. Over the next three years I plan on not just reading a Psalm a day, but spending time studying the Psalm as well. In three years time I will have read each Psalm one time along with scholar’s insights. I may give myself some grace when it comes to Psalms like 119 (176 verses long!), but for most of the Psalms, I will spend one week reading and reflecting on them.
What about You?
What’s your goal? Who do you want to be? Not just this year, but in the years to come. What practice might move you closer to that goal?
My God bless you in this new year and may Scripture become your foundation.