As you follow through the Feed Yourself Bible Study course, there will be times when you get off target. One of your assignments was to find 1/2 hour a day to give to the Word of God. Considering how much time we spend eating natural food a day, that's not much. Nevertheless, all of us will have day[s] when we find we have missed our study time. What do we do then?
First of all, we do not come under condemnation. We don't go around feeling guilty and beating ourselves up. Bible study, although vital, is not a legalistic command. It is part of our growing, loving relationship with Jesus which leads us to spiritual maturity. All of us are going to miss days [maybe weeks and months]. Don't become discouraged and give up. Christianity takes perseverance.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12, NIV
Second, we need to evaluate what happened.
1. Did an emergency arise which took our time? Did something unexpected happen just before our Bible study time? Did we just get too busy? Life happens.
2. The Devil also does not want us learning the Word of God for ourselves. He will send discouraging thoughts. He will tell us it is boring. We're not getting anything out of it. It is a waste of time. God doesn't know how busy we are....plus a million other thoughts to throw us off track. Let's be honest. Bible study is not always exciting. Sometimes it is boring. Many times it is just hard work that doesn't seem to be paying off. A disciple is a disciplined one. A true disciple of Jesus Christ will work on self-disciplining themselves to the things of God whether or not there seems to be an immediate benefit.
3. We need to evaluate our time and what we are doing. Did we set our goals too high? Did we promise ourselves two hours a day when that is unrealistic in our situation? A small amount of time consistently is far better than a large amount of time randomly. Are we trying to accomplish too much and so becoming discouraged? Is there a better time of day for us? For example, a night person promising to get up at 5AM for Bible study is probably not going to work. We need to take a look at everything regarding our Bible study time and make what changes we need to in order to make it work for us.
Third, get back on track! As soon as we realize we have gotten off track we need to evaluate why, make changes if needed, and get right back on track. We need to begin where we left off and keep going. Even after it becomes a habit, we will be tempted from time to time to quit. We will become discouraged for a variety of reasons. We must never give up. If we do get knocked off track, we don't go into self-pity or self-condemnation, we just get back on track and keep going. We are never fail until we stop trying.
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