About a year ago, after a season of feasting and indulgence, I realized that it was time for a little discipline.
So, this study in 1 John happened, slowly and over a month, with people spread all across the country reading together.
If you are in a place where you are needing some consistency in your scripture reading, I encourage you to start right here. In this exact spot, we have 30 days worth of the Word, written by a disciple of Jesus, and thousands of years later, you as a disciple can study it.
Writing these devotions came at a fragile time in my life, an “in-between” time: In between jobs, in between dreams, and in between two versions of myself. I was growing as a Christian, and it was painful, and part of me still wanted to cling to who I had been. But I was becoming, as we always are when we are following Jesus.
When reading, here’s my suggestion: read the section of scripture for the day through twice. Yes, twice, and yes, actually read those verses! I find myself skimming more often than I care to admit, but that’s not the best way to do it. This study is small chunks of scripture, meant to be marinated in slowly, day by day. Read it three times if it takes you that many times to actually slow down. Write down any immediate reaction you have to the scripture, in particular if a smaller chunk or word(s) stood out or feels powerful- copy them into a journal ASAP. An easy way to think of this is like highlighting- if you are a believer, then you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, and he DOES speak to us. When a word hits you and you don’t know why, just write it down, call it the Holy Spirit “highlighting” something for you, and trust that at some point, through prayer and circumstance, it will make sense. And then, after you’ve done all those previous steps-read my thoughts. Finally, write down your other thoughts. When we read the Bible, we need to learn to read it both for clarity in life and connection to God (the feelings side) and we need to read it with context (the understanding side). Our goal is always to get both.
So, grab your Bible, buy a journal if you don’t have one, and commit if you feel led: to 30 days of First John.