At some point I decided I wanted to read each of the four gospels from start to finish. I’m fairly certain I’ve read every story in the gospels at one point or another, but never each book start to finish.
A year ago our high school ministry went to a weekend retreat called Winter Blast, and the speaker there challenged our high school students to do four different things. The first one was to read the bible, and to start with Mark.
Here’s a lovely picture of me reading the first two pages after being inspired by that speaker to do so.
Welp, it took me a while, but I am finally 2.5 chapters away from finishing the whole book.
In order to hold myself accountable, I wrote out on my calendar what verses I wanted to read every day. It was never a crazy amount of verses, which made it easy to feel like each day was achievable.
My biggest struggle with reading the bible is not knowing where to start.
I always feel like “It needs to be the right verses,” and if I don’t feel like I read “enough,” I feel guilty and like I didn’t actually spend time with my Father.
I know that’s a lie: I know that He delights when I spend 30 seconds with Him or 30 minutes. That any verse is the right verse, and it’s my own doubt getting in the way of spending time with Him. Which is exactly what the devil wants.
So my calendar has been great with holding me accountable. Because even if I miss a few days [or a few weeks], I know exactly what I need to read to catch up, and there’s no pressure to read all of it in one day.
***You’ll notice I’m only up to December 20th and today is the 25th***
Yesterday I read the following verses:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”
And it convicted me. What am I doing right now with my life? Am I living my life on guard? Am I alert to the return of the King? The master leaves one of his servants at the door and tells him to keep watch. Am I anxiously awaiting the return of Jesus?
I don’t think I am. And it convicted me. Jesus could return at any moment, am I ready for Him? Would He know me if I came to Him today?
Jesus ends this story with: If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!
Am I awake? Or am I sleeping? Sometimes I think I am sleeping longer than I’d like. I keep hitting snooze on the relationship He is offering me. I keep hitting snooze and saying to God, “I’ll come back to you tomorrow. Just let me stay a little longer in this dream that feels like it could be nicer than reality.”
But that’s not what He tells us to do. He tells us to stay awake, to keep watch, and in Mark 14:32-42 Jesus repeatedly tells His disciples to stay awake, and pray away temptations.
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
What am I missing by choosing to sleep instead of being awake and alert? By hitting snooze I am only making myself more tired. More distanced from the plans of the Lord ahead. I’ve heard sayings about the devil and waking up, that I absolutely love. But why do I let these go by the wayside and choose sin and sleep over the intensely adventurous life with my Lord?
“Be the type of woman that makes the devil say: Oh no, she’s awake.”
“Every time you hit snooze you’re giving the devil a high five.”
I want to wake up. I want the devil to fear me in my waking hours. I want the discipline to stand firm, the humility to fall on my knees and pray, the openness to listen and be led, and the strength to continue pushing forward and to stop sitting down to sleep.
Father, continue to inspire me to do more. To never be satisfied that I’ve done enough until you welcome me Home.