Your Future Self Will Thank You

Somewhere in the stack of productivity advice that seems to be everywhere this time of year, one suggestion from a pastor has stuck with me. To maintain momentum on his spiritual goals, he goes into his online calendar and schedules “events” months in advance as a reminder to check in on his progress. He drops in reflection questions or attaches a note to himself in the calendar invite, and when the day arrives, he takes the time he’s already set aside to evaluate how things are going and, if necessary, make changes. 

It may be too early to schedule a check-in this year. Then again, if you have any experience with resolutions, you know it’s never too soon to drift off course. Maybe you’ve started an ambitious new Bible reading plan this year and have already missed as many days as you’ve completed. Now you’re wondering if this change of pace is the best way for you to spend time in the Word this season. No matter the specifics of your Bible reading goals this year, consider this blog post your invitation to check in and the letter below a completed note-to-self, ready for your reflection.

A Letter for January 11

Dear ________ ,

Do you recognize this feeling? It happens nearly every January. You love beginnings: a new year, a new season, a fresh start. But when that feeling of “brand new” begins to fade and boredom sets in, you look for ways to bring it back. 

You’re not the only one. Marketing campaigns want you to believe that if you just add something different to your routine (preferably something you purchase from their website), you’ll experience the renewal and personal growth you’re longing for. Despite what social media ads would have you believe, a new Stanley cup won’t change your life. You don’t need a new journal or a different planner or a specific Bible reading plan. You need Jesus.

It’s easy to forget that a Bible reading plan is a tool. But like purchasing a fancy new water bottle in hopes of staying hydrated, it doesn’t help you unless you actually drink the water it contains. Still, there’s something about a Bible-in-a-year plan that makes you want to abandon all of the metaphorical water bottles you failed to drink out of last year and try something shiny and new. When you print out a fresh Bible reading plan, it’s pristine and clean, without crinkles or ink smudges anywhere on the page. 

Beginning with Genesis 1 on January 1 can feel like what you need to transform your whole spiritual life. But the plan itself isn’t what changes you. It’s the Word of God that is alive and active (Heb. 4:12), renewing your life (Psalm 19:7). It teaches, encourages, and offers hope (Rom.15:4) because it testifies of Christ (Luke 24:44). 

Do you remember what you last read in Scripture before the excitement of the New Year made you want to abandon all other plans?

  • Your bookmark was in 1 Timothy to go deeper in the sermon series your pastor had been preaching.
  • Your highlighter marked Psalm 145 because God had led you to meditate on specific truths about His character throughout a difficult season.
  • Your Bible fell open to scenes of Christ that made you fall more in love with Him as your small group walked through the Gospels. 

You don’t have to leave behind the places you were before simply because the calendar changed. It’s not a requirement that you follow the reading plan that everyone else seems to be doing. You can keep consuming other passages of Scripture at a slower pace. (And if you haven’t found a method to Bible reading that’s sustainable, it’s worth it to troubleshoot some of the reasons your Bible reading resolutions may have gone off track.)

You won’t be missing out if you decide a new plan beginning in Genesis is not right for you in this season. You will miss out if you don’t drink deeply of Jesus in His Word this year.

Don’t Miss the Word This Year

What if before the end of January, you made an appointment in your calendar to check in on your Bible reading? In the invitation, leave a note for your future self, perhaps with a passage like Psalm 19 as a reminder of why you’re reading and to reflect on how the Word is able to refresh, transform, and renew your life. 

The instruction of the LORD is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the LORD is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are reliable
and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey
dripping from a honeycomb.
In addition, your servant is warned by them,
and in keeping them there is an abundant reward. (Psalm 19:7–11)

Trustworthy, reliable, and altogether righteous. Radiant and more desirable than gold—this is the Word you will encounter through your time in Scripture. Regardless of the reading plan you follow, whether you continue with a new one or return to the old, may it draw you steadily deeper into the satisfying presence of Christ this year. 

At Revive Our Hearts, we’re committed to helping you grow in freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. On the podcast this week, you’ll be encouraged to think through the spiritual goals you are setting for 2024 so you can become increasingly fruitful. In a two-day series called “The Secret to Being Fruitful,” Dannah Gresh shares what you need to know to be the woman God has called you to be.

About the Author

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep

Katie Laitkep was working as a hospital teacher when God called her to join Revive Our Hearts as a staff writer. She serves remotely from Houston, Texas, where God sustains her through saltwater beaches, Scripture, and her local church. Katie's … read more …

Join the Discussion