As we begin the last full chapter of Hearing God [Chapter 9] I am confronted with thoughts that make my mind explode.
You know I value learning; that is not a big deal. We all value something and I just happen to value that. Get to know me and you know that I am a school nut. I love school. I love education. I love learning.
Ask my wife.
What I am about to tell you is just fact to back up what I just told you. It is not bragging. I got a Bachelor’s degree and then that was not enough. I had to go for a Masters. I got hired at a community college where I had to teach a subject I did not feel qualified to teach. I got a 2nd Masters degree in that subject. I got fascinated with that subject and I wanted more knowledge so I got a Ph.D. in that subject.
Then my wife threatened divorce.
“Any more education and I am gone.”
I got the message.
The fire to learn still burns brightly and when Dr. Willard opens chapter 9 with his thoughts about learning about God, I naturally respond.
It is in my DNA.
Dr. Willard states that we are compelled to study God as much as possible because if we don’t we are not going to be the stable Christians we can be and should be. We will also be “unstable and vulnerable” in our Christian actions, our Christian thoughts and our Christian feelings.
He is adamant in demanding our commitment to the study of God. If we don’t commit to a life of study we will have “misunderstandings, mental confusions and mistaken beliefs.”
Recently I had a conversation with a Bible teacher who feels a commitment to study God’s Word. We commiserated about the state of the church and Bible study. I guess we got a bit negative. I told him I felt that most people who come to Sunday School have not read the lesson or have not watched the teaching video. In other words, they are not doing their homework; they are not prepared. They depend on the teacher to serve them the lesson on a platter. We both felt the most owned book by Christians is the Bible but the least read book is the Bible.
Why don’t Chriatians get serious about study?
Dr.Willard stings us when he says that the best books to describe Christian study could be entitled “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Getting into Heaven When you Die” or “The Passive Persons Path to Paradise.”
One of the most famous quotes from Dr. Willard shows up on page 194 of the book: “Faith is not opposed to knowledge; it is opposed to sight…Commitment is not sustained by confusion but by insight.”
Over and over, I have heard statements from Christian men and women who are excellent people but their lack of Bible knowledge worries me. Dr. Willard calls those “whimsical ideas and preconceptions about His way that happen to be flying around us.” Half-baked ideas that are founded on lack of study can be dangerous for our faith and the faith of those around us.
I don’t know everything.
In fact, I don’t know a lot.
If I have any saving grace, it is that I admit it and try to work on learning more, as I can.
I take seriously the words of Mark 12:30 “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” [bolding and underlining is mine].
I fall short.
I don’t study enough. I could do more
What does Dr. Willard demand of us? What does he say God demands of us?
He does not have nice words for us if we are not trying to learn about God’s ways. He uses words like lazy, passive and even the word rebellious.
Wow, when he states “The conscious rejection of thoughtful and careful study is not faith, and it does not spring from faith. It is the rejection of the God-appointed means to God appointed ends.”
I have been hard on us.
Like I said in my title, “Oh Oh”; I knew I would get out of control.
My intention is not to make you feel guilty. My intention is not to make myself feel guilty.
But I do……..