James 1:23-24 Why You Should Stop Reading Three Chapters for Devotions

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James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: James 1:24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Okay first of all let me go ahead and apologize for using such a controversially worded title to this blog post.  Promise that I didn’t just do it for mouse clicks 🙂

James in 1:22 encourages Believers to be doers of the Word (Scripture) and not just hearers.  This is followed up by an illustration of the hearer in 1:23-24 as someone who takes a quick glance in the mirror, then walks away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  Obviously that won’t happen physically (I hope) so allow me to apply this illustration to my own life.+

My morning used to always start this way

  1. Wake up to the smell of coffee brewing and after hitting snooze at least twice, roll out of bed
  2. Pour a cup of coffee and with my eyes still half-closed grab my Bible for devotions
  3. Read at least three chapters (trying to read the Bible in a year) and attempt to find one major thought through all of them
  4. Often don’t find a major theme, and even if I do, have a hard time remembering it during the day

The frustration with this eventually led me to stop reading three chapters of the Bible for devotions.  Instead I will normally read one (maybe two) and really focus on the words in that passage editors note: Will give some tips about how to do this tomorrow

The truth is I still go through a Bible reading program that covers larger portions of Scripture, but that’s done during free moments outside of devotions.

My reason for doing this is simple

You can’t remember truths from three chapters of the Bible

Now it isn’t possible to remember all the truths shared in one chapter either (sometimes it gives ten ideas or more) but taking fifteen to twenty minutes on one chapter of the Bible gives time to actually meditate on what those verses are saying.

Far too often in life I find myself like the hearer in James 1:23-24 who rushes into the presence of God with thousands of different things on his mind (none of them Scripture) then asks God to bless him and quickly rushes out of the Lord’s presence…giving no time for the Holy Spirit to speak.

Of course our insanely busy world with the never-ending to do list means it’s not possible to think about, and seriously meditate on large passages of Scripture…and on a personal note trying to do this for all the thoughts in three-chapters would result in information overload anyways.

So we need to read less

On slower days this means two chapters

On other days one chapter

Or maybe twenty-verses

Or ten-verses

Or maybe even just one!

The important thing is that we set aside time to pray through, meditate on, and apply those verses to our lives.  That way the Holy Spirit can bring that truth back to us later in the day…and we won’t be forgetful hearers.

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