...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?