I love to read, and this time of year, I love to sit outside while I read feeling the warm breeze and looking at the new things springing to life. I like to read Karen Kingsbury novels and blogs that get dropped into my email each week. I read magazines about how to parent teens and online articles about faith issues. Each of these resources plays a part in furthering my knowledge about how to better live the Christian life. My most important resource, however, is the Word of God as it has the power to change my thoughts and ultimately, my life. Just like a college student pursuing a degree, I am a student of God’s Word, and I never want to stop learning how to grow in my knowledge of the Lord.
One recent article I came across asserted the following statement:
“The goal is not to be a professional Christian, but to be an authentic one”.
I’ve thought about this statement over and over again, and it has caused me to examine some things in my life. As I am gaining knowledge and tools for my Christian faith, am I using them in my day to day life? Am I remembering the verses I’ve read when the frustrations of life come my way?
These frustrations are there for all of us: the circumstances that do not change, the trying relationships, the job frustrations, the health challenges, the wayward child or spouse – these are part of our lives.
Since I am a student of the Word, there has to be a purpose in learning it: I’ve got to let the Word change me. It does no good if I’ve attended bible study after bible study and I’m not putting into practice the things that I’ve learned. What good is knowledge if what I’ve learned is never shared with others or displayed in my life? I recently heard maturity defined as this:
Maturity is not how much you know; it is how much, what you know, changes you.
I want to be changed by God’s word. I want HIS word in me so that I know it for myself and can retrieve it when the hard times come. Just being filled up week after week is not beneficial to me or those around me. I need to be “pouring out” by demonstrating what God is teaching me.
When I think about being an authentic Christian, I have to ask myself: Do I share my struggles with others or do I pretend that everything is OK? Do I get “dressed up” on the outside to go to church or bible study each week and then cover up my “stuff”? OR Am I willing to say that life isn’t really as pretty as it seems on the outside and that I need God?
Sitting in a church pew week in and week out does not guarantee our faith or growth. We might look like we are “professionals” because we are doing the right things. But having head knowledge of the faith must become something more. Somehow, we must ensure that this knowledge of the Bible and of who Jesus is makes its way from our heads to our hearts; from our hearts to our minds; from our minds to our lives. It won’t always be easy and we will fail sometimes, but that’s part of living the authentic Christian life.
James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV)