â€œNo Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian.â€ -R.C. Sproul
Have you ever thought of yourself that way? As a theologian? For many, the word theologian will conjure up images of old men wearing robes, studying the Bible for hours or days on end, gathering for debates and using words the rest of us canâ€™t even pronounce. But is that an appropriate mental image; should we only associate theologians with the academic or scholarly?Â
If you don’t like reading, fake it till you make it.
When I was in middle school and high school, I didn’t read anything. To Kill A Mockingbird. The Scarlet Letter. Beowulf. Nothing. We were assigned all these classic novels that (now) I wish I had read. Somehow I got by, but not only was my laziness sinful, it was practically unhelpful as I got to college and had to read something. Winging it wasn’t going to work anymore. So I forced myself and I did it â€” but I didn’t enjoy it. I got bored. It made me tired. I knew I was being coerced into reading so I could get a decent grade. Whatever the excuse, I still hated reading.
“It is to your advantage that I go away….”
Can you imagine the disciplesâ€™ thoughts as Jesus spoke these words? How could it be to their advantage for him to go away? For a couple of years now theyâ€™d seen a man do the impossible. Heal the sick, walk on water, even raise people from the dead. He spoke like no one else ever had. This man, Jesus, claimed to be divineâ€”and he had the miracles to prove it.
“The Bible is too hard to understand.”
Sound familiar? Even if youâ€™ve never said it, chances are, youâ€™ve heard it. And the truth is, the Bible can be a hard book to understand. Itâ€™s really a compilation of sixty-six books, all telling different parts of the same story. Some of the books are history, telling us what happened in the past; some of the books are prophecy, telling us what will happen in the future. Some of the books are poetry, some are letters written to churches 2,000 years ago. No wonder people say itâ€™s hard to understand!
Put on a new self.
The idea of universal truth has come under attack in our culture. Itâ€™s a serious debate, whether something can be 100% true all the time. But we know universal truth exists, and it can be proved by this one simple experiment: serve a slice of chocolate cake to two siblings, giving one a (possibly even unnoticeably) bigger slice than the other, then sit back and watch what happens.
The Bible is full of comfort for the hurt and grieving, and it speaks to our grief in a hundred different ways. For some, their comfort is in the nature of God as a loving father. For others, comfort is found in a familiar passage like Psalm 23, a chapter on the Lord as a shepherd tenderly caring for and protecting his sheep. For their comfort, some lean on a sturdy confidence in Godâ€™s providence, while others in Godâ€™s promises such as Romans 8:28, that all things work together for good for those who Love God and are called according to his purpose.
â€œBuried with Christ in death; raised to walk in newness of life.â€
Many of us have either had this familiar mantra spoken directly to us, or have been around church (especially Baptist churches) long enough to hear it spoken over others. But unfortunately, time and familiarity can erode the effect such a powerful truth can have on our hearts.
Have you ever wondered if the perfect church is out there?
Maybe youâ€™ve tried a few different ones looking for it. Like a beautiful mythical creature, somewhere hides this unicorn church that always does everything right, believes everything right, and all the people are friendly, holy, and happy. Maybe you think youâ€™ve found it. If you think you have, just wait; you simply haven’t been there long enough â€” like more than five minutes.
“We need volunteers.”
When you hear those words, if you canâ€™t wait to respondâ€”youâ€™re an anomaly and this isn’t for you. The rest of us, though, typically don’t like volunteering. We cringe when we hear those three little words. Our minds go to our calendars first because thatâ€™s the easy way out. â€œWhat do I already have that day,â€ we ask ourselves as we search for an excuse. Once we realize the calendar is clear, weâ€™ll settle for anything! â€œThatâ€™s not really my thing.â€ â€œIâ€™ve had a long week so Iâ€™m just going to rest.â€ Or the best one, â€œGod hasnâ€™t called me to do that.â€