Why is Christian Study Different from other Study?
We’ve established that we must study in part 1 and that we will study, so what form does Christian Study take?
Christian study isn’t exactly like studying for one of those tests that the company I work for in my day job writes.
Christian study is about changing our minds from destructive habits into life-giving habits of life. Christian Study involves being both informed of the truth and being formed in the truth.
Paul said in Philippians 4:8
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise not things to curse.”
Christian study doesn’t just add to our information about God it also begins to grow us into being a bit closer to the reflection of Christ that God wants us to be.
Christian Study in the truest sense makes us realize that to be a Christian isn’t easy, it isn’t passive, and it isn’t about all feel good stories and prosperity gospel.
No it challenges us it makes us understand that it calls for us to grow and change and struggle to love one another. It challenges us to BE SOMETHING new with our lives and become a bit more than we were the day before, every day. It calls for us to put Christ at the center of what we do and the decisions we make.
It allows us to put Christianity into the world without putting the world into us. It allows us to be transformed as Paul says in Romans 12:2 where he says
“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.”
That is the goal of Christian Study, true and total spiritual transformation.
So, What do we study?
If the goal of Christian study is spiritual transformation what things or areas should you spend your time studying?
What should our priorities be when studying?
First you should study the good news or the gospel. You need to constantly study the word of God and grow in your understanding of the gift of Grace. In doing this you need to find a way to study the scriptures to grow in your spiritual understanding of the spiritual priorities of God. This study should be focused on growth and transformation not just information and knowledge (which was the only way I used to study the scriptures to be honest).
It’s also important to study the world as a whole. Christians have no choice but to live in the world that we find ourselves in today. We should study human issues because God cares for this world and we should care for the world and find ways to serve in the world. To do this we have to understand the world and humans place in the world.
Working to understand the world requires an understanding of the history of the human world and an understanding of the history and traditions of the church. This understanding is about doing more than just learning information but applying the understanding and looking for what God’s message is in these things.
In studying all of this you should also learn to view God’s message about yourself and others as children of God. Learning to see others as Christ sees them is vital to really growing in what it means to be Christ like. Seeking out others, knowing them, their needs and wants, and sharing the good news of Christ are a key area of study.
Now that is a difficult thing to do, it’s hard to see others as Christ sees them, but even harder is applying that same vision to yourself. Truly understanding yourself, seeing yourself as God sees you, a miraculous child of God with unique gifts and purpose is one of the hardest areas of study of all.
Yet this is something that God wants for all of us, to understand ourselves as spiritual beings, to see ourselves with the eyes of grace that God has for us, and to grow day to day into the being that God knows we can be.
This is what makes Christian study so different from the study like that study I used to do. This is what makes it about transformation rather than information.
Stay tuned for part 3 where we talk about excuses to not study.
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