A few years ago a viral video circulated of Navy Seal Admiral McRaven giving the commencement speech at University of Texas, Austin. The memorable quote came when the admiral said that the best way to start off your day was by making your bed. He listed the benefits of putting bed-making first, and how it sets off a chain reaction of productivity and order in one’s life. It was good, simple, and useful advice.
But as much as a simple habit like making your bed can set the tone for the whole day, there is another habit which if practiced daily will rightly shape not just your day, but your life—even your eternity.
I’m talking about the fact that beginning your day with reading the Word of God is the number one thing you can do in order to lead a productive life.
In this post I present three arguments for why you should begin your day with the habit of Bible reading. But if you’re already convinced, you may want to check out my article on how to solidify this precious habit: 8 Ways to Make Daily Bible Reading a Habit.
Okay, let’s look at the three reasons why reading your Bible daily is the best way to be productive.
Begins the Day with a Habit
The first reason reading your Bible daily leads to a productive life is in the simple truth that it begins your day with a habit, and habits are contagious. Setting aside the clear spiritual benefit of this discipline for a moment, consider that when you practice a healthy habit other habits become easier to cultivate alongside it.
I’ve often marveled at the fact that when I’m in the habit of exercising daily other habits line up behind it. Healthy eating, devotions, and other good practices just tag along of their own accord, without any mighty exertion of the will. Well, daily Bible reading can be that cornerstone habit which helps you to cultivate other habits as well. It just so happens that it’s also the most important habit you could have. So, why not start with it?
The real benefits of this habit, however, are spiritual.
Reminds You of Your Purpose
The second reason that you should begin your day with Bible reading is because it reminds you of why you’re here. The cares and troubles of this world have a way of driving our real purpose from our minds. It is worth noting that it was this very thing, the cares of this present life, which choked out faith in the thorny soil (Mark 4:19). Even for true believers can get knocked off course if we let our eyes linger for too long on the temporal.
When we don’t consistently reorient our hearts to God’s economy, by degrees, we find ourselves fixated on lesser things. Some issue at work, some relationship, or some vain ambition is always competing to occupy our concerns, ambitions, and motivations. But instead our minds need to be filled with thoughts of the Lord, eternity, and the purpose for which He has put us here.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the only way to walk by faith in this world of distraction (Hebrews 12:2). So, to avoid straying from our purpose, we must be continually looking to Him through reading our Bibles. And therein also we will find our purpose recalibrated by that great mission objective which is found everywhere in the Scriptures: Namely, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Sets Your Priorities
The third reason reading your Bible each day makes you productive is that it sets your priorities straight. The simple choice of picking up your Bible before you pick up your phone in the morning is an act of defiance against your sinful heart. As dual citizens we must throughout the day engage with the concerns of this world, but we don’t need to do so unprepared.
When you start your morning with the news, or social media, you are setting the tone for the new day. Just as a hatchling adopts the first face he sees as mother, so what you first engage with has a permanent effect on the rest of your day.
Don’t believe me? Consider the content of your water-cooler talk at work. “Did you hear about … ?” Whether it was the breaking news, a sport-center recap, a TV show, movie, or an article in your Twitter feed, you’re mind is fixated on the latest temporal thing. There’s nothing wrong with these things as such, but recognize that they are fleeting and relatively inconsequential when set against eternity. But we talk about them because that’s what we’ve stocked our mind with that morning and the night before. How much better it would be if we, through the daily habit of Bible reading, set our hearts on those things which are above (Colossians 3:2). What transcendence would our daily interactions then be marked by!
And what’s more, consider how a daily encounter with divine revelation fits you for the day, to work with all your might, to do all to the glory of God, to work not as men-pleasers but for God. Daily Bible reading truly is a habit well worth cultivating
If your aim is to be a productive Christian then you need to not just good habits, but the best habit of all. And the best habit to start your day with is reading the Living Word of God.
If you want more on how to actually implement this practice, check out my article on 8 Ways to Make Daily Bible Reading a Habit.