How do I keep my devotional life strong in seminary? Dr. Scott Redd encourages believers to be conscious of the power of God’s Word when studying it in an intellectual setting.
I think one of the most important ways that we can keep our devotional life strong in the seminary is to keep our focus on why we’re there. And that is to deepen our experience of God’s word and to deepen, or strengthen, our faith in Jesus Christ.
The Power of God’s Word
There’s something that happens at seminary—and to be honest, I’m not sure if it happens many other places in the world. But there is such a deep and penetrating study of God’s word, that, as we stand close to God’s word, we notice that all kinds of things in our lives start to come up and out of that study, whether it’s conviction of sin, or a realization of the struggles one has had in life, maybe even wounds from your childhood. I’ve seen this, in seminary, regularly happen during the course of studying God’s word. I think we need to remember when we’re coming to God’s Word in this kind of close proximity, and we’re studying it with this kind of intensity, it is kind of like coming close to a fire, right?As we stand close to God’s word, we notice that all kinds of things in our lives start to come up and out of that study. A fire keeps you warm, and you can use it to cook your food, it’s necessary for life. And yet, you shouldn’t play around it. And so, I often encourage our students, if you ever notice yourself taking God’s word lightly, or merely seeing it as a textbook, or something like that, where you’re going to get the answers for the exam, okay, take a step back, take a breath, and recognize again that when you’re coming to God’s word, you’re coming to God’s revelation of himself. It’s powerful. It does stuff. It separates between the bone and the marrow. It strikes down to the deepest part of the person. And so we need to come, both with a spirit of reverence, but also a spirit of worshipfulness, right? Recognizing that God’s word isn’t merely for the seminary exam or the paper, but this is for your life. And that’s why I think if you can keep that focus of God’s word as his revelation of himself to you, then you can help keep your devotional life safe and secure.
The Importance of Community
Of course, it’s not only that. We need to be doing this in community. We need have people around us, in our churches and in our classes, who are holding us accountable, who are providing avenues for fellowship and community, where we can talk through the struggles that we’re having, so that they don’t become, kind of, kept down and repressed deep in the inner rooms of our self, but rather, they’re open, and we can discuss these things with others so that, as we are growing in our knowledge of Scripture, we can grow as members of Christ’s body. We can grow as worshipers of him.