January 8, 2014

Deeper Still: Women as Students of the Word

...love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind... ~Luke 10:27
I'm a college student. This means many things... like I know what it means to live off of less than four hours of sleep, eating noodles frequently, and studying, studying, studying. Two of those things I just listed are relatively common amongst all undergrads.

Running the risk of generalizing, I'll say this, there tends to be two types of people who go to college: Those who go to prepare for their future, and those who go for the experience of it all (if you catch my drift). Who is more likely to flunk the tests though? Those who took the time to study and put in the work, or those who didn't? Sure there are positive things college students should experience that aren't academic in their nature necessarily, but at the end of the day my university didn't mail me an acceptance letter and fork over a ton of scholarship money so I could not do me job whilst there: to primarily be a student.

As indicated in the title, this post is for mainly us females, because we women love our feelings. And so much of Bible study directed particularly towards our gender, I've found that more often than not placates to our feelings and not actually to God's word (i.e. sound theology). It can be far harder for us women to have an intellectual cultivation component in our faith. 

Here's what I need you to hear: I am not anti-emotions. (In fact, I've got a whole series on that alone coming up this spring.) I'm not against having a vibrant faith that feels. What I am saying here is that feelings are like shifting sands, when winds change so do they. And if we're coming to study God's Words for the sake of getting an experience out of it that makes us feel good... then we're not learning to love God with our minds. We're not preparing our minds for the day of action as Peter reminds us to do. And we're totally missing the boat on cultivating a mind, an intelligence, that loves the Lord.

There's a parallel here: Before Jesus ascended into heaven he gave us the great commission, but there's a word in those verses that we need to see: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:16-20). You and I were called to be disciples, and to go make disciples. Another word for disciple is student. We're called to be students of Christ, students of the Word.

There's a question, that as women, I think perhaps we have to wrestle through a bit more: Am I good student of the word, letting it shape my thinking, practice of wisdom, and feelings? Or am I... lackadaisical towards the discipline of studying, seeking to appease my emotions primarily and get some spiritual high from it? If it's the latter, than when the testing time comes so to speak, when changes in the wind hit us, we're not going to be prepared. We'll either fail or get by, but with great difficulty, that might not have been there had we been trained well. And just speaking from personal experience, winds of change come to every single person (and if they haven't, it just means you haven't lived long enough yet). In those seasons we'll want a foundation of stone, a fountain of living water to drink from.

Biblical ignorance can be damaging. Not just to yourself but to others. 

Before we move on, maybe consider some of these questions when you've got some spare time this weekend to get a pulse on where we are in our thinking or attitude towards God's word. I'll be doing this too, so if you share in the comments I'd love to dialogue with you.

How do I study the Bible Personally? Do I open it to a random spot, read a couple paragraphs, close it, and tell myself I'll think about that throughout my day? (If we applied this technique to a college class with our textbooks would we pass the class?) Or... Do I open the scriptures, read them, and interact with the text? Do I dig to find out who wrote the book or why? Would I wonder why an author would use the same word over and over again in the span of three verses?

Do I Come Under the Scriptures? At the end of our reading the scriptures do I ask, "How does this apply to my life?" Or do I ask, "How does this change and move me to make me more into the image of Christ and to pursue His calling on my life?"

Am I "Becoming What I Behold?" That's a popular quote by the way; that "people become what they behold." So are we beholding the loveliness of Christ in our study, so that we're becoming more like Him?

9 comments :

  1. I just want to comment on every post you write. THANK YOU. The Lord is using your words to challenge me in a good way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Natalie, your sound wisdom God has blessed you with is just flourishing with each post. You are maturing in God so gracefully and its such a blessing to share in that with you as you give us your insight. Thank you for this post...you are spot on and the whole emotions vs intellect is something I have never even considered before! I definitely need to become an intellectual disciple :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura! You're such an encouragement and always gracious with your kind words friend.

      Delete
  3. Yes to all of this. I think we as women want to feel like Christ has empowered us to do ALL THE THINGS. And when that doesn't fall into place we feel less than, irresponsible, failures, ashamed, and a whole host of other things Christ never meant us to feel, especially since He never promised us we would be able to manage about 80 million tasks in a given day.

    We forget to cultivate the intelligence of our faith, the reason behind it. I'm guilty of this as well. And as I start to forge a regular habit of morning study, I want to be sure I'm focused and deliberate in my attempt to behold the holy Word of God and - I can't stress this to myself enough - do what it says.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, yes, amen, amen. We're not preparing our minds for the day of action as Peter reminds us to do. And we're totally missing the boat on cultivating a mind, an intelligence, that loves the Lord.

    This is so important when we want to be evangelical. If we don't know what we're talking about, we're probably just a bubbling brook of emotions and Christianeese. When you shared in the first post about not being a seminary student--just a girl who loves Jesus--oh yes, that's what this is all about. When we submit our minds and intelligence (and our everything) to the love of Christ, and the Word of God, it's amazing the work the Spirit does in people with no seminary education. I think the latter is very important, but not the only thing--especially for believing women.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great thoughts Jen! I so appreciate your love for His Word too, which shows through your writing as well =) I think emotion is important, but I think when we women train our minds in God's Word with the emotions being the driving force and the desired goal, then we won't have a solid foundation so to speak. Then when seasons come that sorta test us, we don't have a framework that's helpful in aiding us to hold fast to Christ.

      Delete
  5. YES and AMEN!!! I love the three questions you posed at the end. I am too often too superficial in my "digging" of the Word, and I am making praying for the desire to became an "excavator" of the Word, digging deep into Truths that don't lead me to ME, but lead me to JESUS. Because there are far too many devotionals, books, blogs, magazines, and movies that are int the guise of "Christian", yet focus on us rather than Jesus. It's far too easy to focus on us. It takes humility, repentance, and letting go of our own desires to focus on Jesus first and foremost. But in my experience, the times I have chosen to look to His word and to HIM, He has never let me down. He has ben faithful to teach my heart unforgettable and life-altering lessons of His character, love, and goodness.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving me your thoughts, comments, and encouragements! =) I do monitor every comment I get so that I can comment back as much as possible.

Any comments I personally deem as inappropriate or disrespectful (and any spam) will be trashed.