According to research done at the Center for Bible Engagement, the life of someone who engages scripture 4 or more times a week looks radically different from the life of someone who does not. In fact, the lives of Christians who do not engage the Bible most days of the week are statistically the same as the lives of non-believers. It’s no wonder the enemy throws everything he can at us to distract us from this all too important spiritual discipline.
Their research goes on to say that someone who engages the Bible 4 or more times a week is…
- 228% more likely to share their faith with others
- 407% more likely to memorize Scripture
- 59% less likely to view pornography
- 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness
This really shouldn’t surprise us when we consider that according to Hebrews 4:12, “the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword.” Paul told young Timothy that “from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures. They have the power to give you wisdom so that you can be saved through faith in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.” 2 Timothy 3:15-16 The psalmist asks in Psalm 119:9-11, “how can a young person stay on the path of purity?” The answer is found in the following sentences, “by living according to Your Word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” God was way ahead of the research!
It’s been said that “the road to good intentions often leads nowhere.” This was true in my life (still is at times). As a teenager, I had a passion for God coupled with a sincere desire to follow Christ and grow in my faith but I lacked one important thing: discipline. When I think back to my early Christian journey I am grateful that my Dad gave me the gift of discipline and structure, especially in the areas of prayer and Bible reading. Each day, he would require of my siblings and me that we would spend 1/2 hour each day reading God’s Word, the Bible. He would then follow up and ask us about what we read and learned and to see if we had any questions. When I look back to that time I cannot tell you how grateful I am that he provided that kind of discipline and accountability in my young life. It laid a huge spiritual foundation for me and my life was forever changed as I encountered the God of the Bible.
At Youth Week this year, we are providing each young person with a “Summer Bible Reading Plan” which will take them through Proverbs, The Gospel of Mark and the book of Acts throughout the course of the summer. Each day they would read a few chapters. It’s broken down for them on a nice bookmark. If they are to ever come to really OWN THEIR FAITH then this is a crucial ingredient.
So here’s my challenge to you: would you provide accountability and structure for your kids as my parents did for me? Consider doing the reading plan with them. Each day take time to ask about what they read and what they learned and were challenged by. Final thought: my dad not only provided accountability and structure for me, but he also did more than that. He provided an example. The Word of God had priority in his life. It was important to him and became important to me.
At the end of the day, this is about authority. What will have absolute authority over our lives? If we are not in the Word can we really say that God has first place in our lives? My prayer for our youth this summer is found in 2 verses…
- That our kids would say and believe as the Psalmist did in Psalm 119:103, “How sweet Your word is to my taste–sweeter than honey in my mouth.”
- And that in their young lives, Jesus Christ will “come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:18
There are 3 things that will last for all of eternity: God, His word and US – our souls. In light of this reality, where should we invest our time and energy this summer? It starts with the Word of God. Let’s lead our kids well in this area!
Pastor Seth Kirschner, Youth Pastor Island Christian Church