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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

The 21 Day Experiment - Day 1: "The Word of Life"

by Marilynn Chadwick

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4 (ESV)

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. For me, the beginning of every new year is the perfect time to launch a new habit. Forming a habit is much like an experiment. An experiment gives me permission to try something on for size. If I’m pleased with the results, I can repeat the steps. If not, I can toss it aside. Simple as that.

If you were to ask me my single most important habit, I would say, hands down, it’s the daily reading of Scripture. Saints of old like Charles Spurgeon and George Mueller pointed to Scripture reading as the secret to their legendary faith. They combined Scripture reading with prayer—thereby turbo-charging their prayers.

Starting today, I invite you to join me for what I like to call “The 21 Day Experiment.” We’ll devote just fifteen minutes each day to reading one chapter from the Gospel of John. It's a good place to start, since John has exactly twenty-one chapters. This simple experiment could change your life. I know it changed mine.

Many years ago, when I was a new believer, I heard about a former atheist and newspaper reporter who told of her dramatic transformation after reading the Gospel of John—as a skeptic, not as a seeker. Her story captivated me, since just one year earlier, I had been an atheist who happened to be a journalism major in college. The reporter said her “experiment” opened her eyes to the reality of Christ. Instead of confirming her conviction that the Bible was a “dead book,” she became a totally devoted follower of Jesus. What’s more, she challenged fellow skeptics to set aside 21 days to read John’s Gospel. Miraculously, many of those same friends were also born again.

I like to conduct my own version of “The 21 Day Experiment,” adding a few ground rules: 

  1. Set aside 15 minutes each day to prayerfully read one chapter of John’s Gospel. Ask the Holy Spirit to “highlight” a verse from your reading. I call this my “watchword.”

  2. Write your “watchword” on a card (I use a 3x5 note card). Then list a few prayer needs on the back of the card. Simply pray that verse over each need.

  3. Find other times to reflect on the verse and pray. I keep my card handy for when I’m stuck in traffic, folding clothes, waiting in line, or going for a walk.

During today’s reading of Chapter 1, I noticed Jesus anew as the Creator. John writes: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3 NIV). I was also struck by references to the word “life.” “In him was life and that life was the light of mankind" (John 1:4 NIV). I’ve decided John 1:4 will be my "watchword" today. This theme of “life” has prompted me to ponder God’s astounding gift.

I encourage you to stick with this experiment. Don’t evaluate until the END of the 21 days. You can even say to yourself, “Well, nothing seems to be happening today, but I will postpone judging its impact until after 21 days.” Over the years, without fail, each time I have repeated this 21 Day Experiment, God has spoken to me in a special way. I am praying the same will be true for you.

This Moment of Hope is adapted from the book Sometimes He Whispers Sometimes He Roars by Marilynn Chadwick. Also, if you would like to join us as we read through the Bible together in 2024, please visit for the reading schedule and weekly commentary from Pastor David Chadwick.

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