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Don't let your relationship with God fall into a mechanical rut.

If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about how to make the new year better than the current year. Been thinking about that for a while, actually.

In fact, I’m using this week of holidays to get a few things moving. Today I set up my bike trainer in the family room, started outlining a new book and am going to tackle some family projects.

I also think about how I want to recalibrate my own relationship with God.

Like any relationship, it can fall into a rut. If you’re not careful, what was once meaningful can easily become mechanical.

Or maybe you’re new to a relationship with God, and you’re looking for a way to begin a relationship with him. I realize my tips are mostly around reading the Bible, but here’s what I find:

The more I engage the Scriptures, the more I engage God.

Here are five ways to kickstart your devotional life:

1. Find Your Best Personal Time.

For me, it’s a no-brainer. I’m always best in the morning. If I try to spend time with God at night, I fall asleep (it’s nothing personal—I also treat late-night movies, friends and family the exact same way after 10 p.m.). I love having time with God between 5 and 6 a.m. I’m fully awake, engaged and present.

What’s your best personal time? Give it to God. You’ll grow.

OK, I better come clean. I have a bias. I think everyone should become a morning person. I think there are inherent advantages you don’t get any other way. I started becoming a morning person in my early 30s and have never looked back.

Think you can’t do it? Michael Hyatt shows you how.

2. Find the Medium That’s Best for You.

I’m a reader, so a written Bible has always equaled awesome for me. But a few years ago I discovered I had stopped reading my Bible in a fresh way because I had been reading it for so many years. The words didn’t feel fresh anymore because they had become so familiar.

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Around that time I had bought my first iPhone. I downloaded the YouVersion app and suddenly I found I was reading the Bible as though it was the first time. Every word looked new, even though I had read it before. And that meant my connection with God and the Bible was stronger. The only thing I changed was the media. Now I read it off my tablet with the same effect.

Experiment with mediums. See which one works best for you. If you don’t like reading, get an audio Bible and listen.

Carey Nieuwhof Carey Nieuwhof is Lead Pastor of Connexus Church north of Toronto, Canada, blogs at www.careynieuwhof.com and is host of The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast available for free on iTunes.

More from Carey Nieuwhof or visit Carey at http://careynieuwhof.com

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  • pipel2667

    powerful!!! very practical!!! lets do anything that’s necessary to keep alive the flame burning in our hearts!!!

  • intentionally involved

    I’ve read the Bible for years and it is precious to me day after day. I try different versions, even the Greek N.T. and so often childhood memorizations comfort or guide me. Thank God for this living connection to Him. And yes, let’s keep the flame alive!

  • Charlie

    Awesome thank you

  • jjbest

    Awesome post, I will really kick-start, can’t wait to go through the bible a year

  • btorry47

    Great Post gave me a lot of good Ideas thanks so much

  • Ryan

    I’ve read through my bible several times through my life so far. I seem to do it faster as the
    years go. I think I’m just more patient and can read longer. I know there is
    more focus on prayer over the years than reading the bible but the bible is so
    important. The Holy Spirit works in coordination with the Word of God. You have
    the influence of the Holy Spirit from within, working outward and the influence
    of the Word of God from the outside working inward. Together with prayer in
    asking the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to rid your heart of any evil, at
    the same time your filling that spot emptied of evil with God’s word, wisdom,
    direction and peace. Some argue over the bibles relevance and things lost in
    translations but it is 100% relevant in respect to the heart of man. The bible
    is still relevant because the heart of man has not changed since Adam’s fall.
    When you read the bible in respect to the human heart, there is a lot to learn
    and a lot of knowledge and wisdom. Times have changed, cultures have changed.
    Those things don’t apply but in view of the heart and the gospel message, it is all
    relevant.

  • Cezina Dsouza

    Every bit of advice and training to get us closer to God is awesome. Thanks n Godbless.
    Cezina Dsouza

  • Twinsfan1

    Three more suggestions:

    1. Buy a new Bible every so often. Then your eyes won’t immediately track to those portions you’ve underlined, highlighted, or made notes in. Or go online to read, as Carey suggests…

    2. Buy a Bible and read it for one of your children to give as a gift when they reach a certain milestone: graduation, marriage, something like that. Mark it up and write personal notes about why that passage is special to you, what it makes you think about in regard to them as they get ready for this new phase of life, and just notes of love and encouragement. I read this idea from somewhere and can’t remember where I got it. I’ve done it for my oldest child, working on my second child’s now.

    3. Do your reading in a different translation from time to time. Not only gives a fresh perspective, but gives you greater appreciation for the scholarship of other translations.

  • Stephen

    God bless your ministry.All the steps are practically oriented .i know it will increase my spirituality.

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