‘Empty calories’ is an often used phrase today when it comes to dieting and healthy eating. The thought is that we shouldn’t just watch how many calories we eat each day, but where those calories come from and their overall nutritional value.

We all know that students’ physical eating habits can be loaded with empty calories, but what about their spiritual eating habits?

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus proclaims that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” When we read the Bible and take in the words of God, they are life giving.

But are these life giving words the staple of our students’ (and our) spiritual diet? Or is it comprised mostly of Christian music, Duck Dynasty episodes, and other ‘empty calories’? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying any of those things are evil, but they are not to be our primary source of spiritual nourishment.

A great way to encourage our students to dive into and feed on God’s Word is to provide them with a Bible reading plan. While there are numerous plans available, here is a 12-month plan that we’ve put together. Each month we hand out a bookmark-sized sheet that contains 5 Bible passages to read per week. The students can then store the bookmark in their Bible and check off the passages as they go through them.

We can load up on many spiritual things that make us feel full, but only God’s words will truly give life.

Aaron Zehr is the Pastor of Youth and Outreach at Eureka Bible Church in Eureka, Illinois. He has been working full-time as a youth pastor since 2007. He’s married to Megan and has a daughter Kaitlyn and another on the way! He enjoys softball, golf, running, reading, board games, and attending St. Louis Cardinals games. Check out his resource on DYM right here!