We study a lot of things— textbooks, people, relationships, our phones, even our faces, etc…. But often we do so in order to gather information or critically diagnose problem points and strengths in the object of our study. If we’re being honest it seems we use study as a vehicle and simultaneously fuel, for our opinions. Yet, in the same breath, no one questions studying the Bible. Begrudgingly we have to admit that in many circles we have used how often you “study” the Word as a measuring stick for your faith— It’s a non-negotiable for disciples of Jesus, right?! Jesus flat out said “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the knowledge of the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Study may be the discipline we most think of when we think of spiritual disciplines, but maybe it’s time we take another look at how we define this seemingly-familiar practice because there is more to study than the accumulation of information. Study was never meant to be used as a weapon for our own motives but a means of transformation.
Let’s go back to that verse in John— “the knowledge of the truth will set you free”. We love this quote from Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline: “Good feelings will not free us. Ecstatic experiences will not free us. Getting ‘high on Jesus’ will not free us. Without knowledge of the truth, we will not be free”.
Gals, how often have we seen study be twisted as a way to shackle people in polarized arguments rather than set them free in truth? How often have we been frustrated with God when we consistently read our Bible and still we see nothing change? How often do we look at our lives and see that our habits and lifestyle do not proclaim the truth that we KNOW in our hearts?
Jesus has so much more for us in the practice study than we’ve been willing to engage with. Becuase to engage with study is an act of humility, its a declaration that we need to be taught (not affirmed in what we already “know”), it’s going to the feet of Jesus and saying, “Change me”. It’s studying the character and will of God both in scripture and out of it—‚ In nature, people, relationships, objects…. The whole world. AND in study we see a clear transformation from the mindset, “I believe in God”, to “I believe God”.
If you think you’ve got study dialed in, we’re going to ask you to give it another look with us. ‘Cause we’ve got a hunch that Holy Spirit wants to give us new eyes and a deeper hunger for this study that has a promise of transforming attached to it. We’re diving into this conversation over the next three weeks on our podcast, Let’s Riot, and we want you to be a part of it. You in, bud?