Thursday, March 22, 2012

Studying and Salvation

I was a pirate last night! At least that is what I told everyone when they asked me why I had an eye patch on my eye. It was fun to mess with people and say, "Arrrr" alot! I love the opportunities to confirm for others what they already know: I'm a dork! And this is a random opening paragraph to lead into a deeper topic.

Even with a one-eyed facilitator last night, our discussion went well. We continued our "You Asked For It" class discussing salvation. It was cool to see how quickly everyone went to emphasize the on-going nature of salvation. One of the first texts from the Bible referenced was Philippians 2:12-13:
"Therefore my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
The difficult part in our conversation was understanding how "working out our salvation" translates practically into everyday living. At one point I asked, "Does it count as an example of working out our salvation when I am studying for an exam and being a good student?" There was a lot of silence as the great minds in the room were thinking. In fact, I almost smelt smoke!

How could studying for an exam count as continuing to work out your salvation? Here are some of my thoughts.

First, as I've mentioned before, I am one who consistently refuses to accept (and even recognize) the ginormous chasm most of us have between our spiritual life and any other aspect of our life (even academic life). No! We have one life! That's it! And each aspect of our life is connected to all the others! It is impossible to have one aspect of my life (say, academic studies) isolated and uninfluenced by another aspect of my life (say, how I treat my parents)! That is why our studies gets a boost of newfound energy when we come home from Spring Break having had a little time to rest. (btw...the opposite is equally true if our Spring Break experienced some sort of parental bomb shell!)

So! Studying counts as working out your salvation.

Attending to academic studies is a venue through which students can consider themselves as working out their salvation. Attending to your studies is a living-fully-alive-as-God-created-us exercise. It is a loving-the-Lord-your-God-with-all-your-mind thing. You are growing up into the fullness of Christ when you are growing in knowledge. It is all related.

I love how practical this is for students! Want to work on growing up in your salvation in Christ? Study! Review! Take good notes! Listen to your professor! Ask them questions! Sleep at night! Eat well! Grow!

This sounds like the Jesus I read about in Luke 2:46, 52. His parents "found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. .... And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

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