Fight for Delight by Planning Your Devotions

Audio Transcript

We fight off personal despondency through a habit of daily Bible reading. That’s what we’ve been seeing here in these early weeks of 2023, as we focus our attention on Psalm 77. Thanks for joining here on this Wednesday. We’re going to do so with one last clip from John Piper’s sermon on Psalm 77. We close our little study of the psalm with a practical plea and summons from Pastor John for making and holding to a daily Bible reading routine in this new year. Here he is, speaking to his church in the early days of the year 2000.

“I will remember. I will meditate. I will muse.” We must become an intentional, purposeful, active, aggressive warrior people who fight for delight. It doesn’t come automatically. We fight for delight.

When Will You Read?

I close with this very practical plea, summons, call: this afternoon, before you go to bed tonight, if you haven’t already got it, will you take enough time — five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, whatever — to plan when in your days you are going to read the Bible every day in the year 2000?

“If you say, ‘I’ll read it tomorrow whenever I get a chance,’ there will be no chance.”

When? If you don’t have a time picked out, it won’t happen. If you say, “I’ll read it tomorrow whenever I get a chance,” there will be no chance. Satan will see to that. Your flesh will see to that. If you don’t plan to read the Bible at a particular time, you will become a hit-and-miss, hazard Christian — and weak.

Where Will You Read?

The second question to ask this afternoon is, Where will I read the Bible? Closet, kitchen, bedroom, living room, den, car, conference room at work, park — you choose. If you don’t have a place picked out, you’ll stand in the halls, and you’ll say, “There’s no quiet place. There’s no place to go. Music in there, TV in there, cooking in there — there’s no place to go. Well, let’s check the email.” You never know what you might get sent.

Susanna Wesley had sixteen children. Housewives, she knows where you’re coming from. So, five little kids — noise, noise, noise. Where are you going to go? What are you going to do? Two of them are sick. Susanna Wesley was such a disciplinarian that she taught these sixteen kids, “When you walk into the kitchen and my apron is over my head, you don’t say a word.” That’s her closet. She just created one.

And she was strong enough, really strong — I’ll maybe read some of her excerpts from her words on Wednesday night — that they obeyed. “When mommy’s apron is over mommy’s head, we know what’s happened: Bible is open, and she’s praying. And you don’t go into the holy place.” It can be done if you want it, if you believe in it.

How Will You Read?

And the third question: when, where, and how. How are you going to do it? If you don’t have your own way, you’ve got to have a way. I’ll tell you, I’ve been working at this now for 48 years or so, and I know a lot about defeat in Bible reading. And one of the defeats that’s most painful is to have the place, have the time, sit down and open the book, and you don’t know where to go.

I ought to know where to go. I’m a pastor. And you just open, and you say, “Well, Malachi doesn’t look right. And the psalm doesn’t look right.” Satan will actually persuade me that that’s a good enough reason to reach for a book on theology. Isn’t that crazy? And if it happens to me, probably it happens to you. And therefore, we’ve just got to have some guidelines. You don’t have to keep them — you’ve just got to have them there so that you can fall back on them if there’s no better thing to do that day.

“Delight doesn’t come automatically. We fight for delight.”

Okay — how, where, and when. Will you, if you don’t already have a plan, take whatever amount of time — five, ten, fifteen minutes today — to plan to do it? I’m not asking you to do it. Isn’t that easy? I’m asking for intentionality here. I’m asking for a plan. And you might in your heart even make it a vow to the Lord.

Would you stand with me for closing prayer?

Father, I ask you that you would fulfill every good resolve and work of faith by your power. Bless these people, who have seen the way to live the Christian life as a life on the word — meditating, musing, remembering. And Lord, make it part of our arsenal of how we triumph day in and day out against the evil one. O Lord, make us good warriors, I pray. Help us know how to fight for delight.

And all the people said, “Amen.” You’re dismissed.

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