As a young student, I thrived on memorization. I could take any list or page of facts, put it to memory, and be able to rock the test the next day by regurgitating it onto a piece of paper. I was pretty smart in that way, but when end-of-the-year exams came into play, I didn’t fare quite as well.
Now that I’m a teacher, I think like my old student self when it comes to teaching my pupils. Requiring information that can just be memorized doesn’t show high level learning; it’s simple recall. Real learning comes when a student analyzes, applies, and extends what they’ve learned. That takes critical thinking, steps to carry out and exemplify the knowledge in a real situation, and then the time to extend learning beyond the classroom.
When it comes to your spiritual learning, what type of student are you?
The devil doesn’t care how many Bible verses we know or how many Sundays in a row we have made it to church if we don’t apply any of it to our lives.
You might want to reread that again. Memorizing scripture, tallying your church attendance, being able to talk the Christian talk, or whatever spiritual glamour we can come up with doesn’t matter if we don’t apply it to our lives and extend it into the situations that call for action.
I wasn’t just that type of student, I was that type of Christian too. I sat in church for years memorizing Scripture and having perfect attendance—and it gave me a shallow faith. When I was tested, I failed. I had no true application and the devil loved it. Now as a preacher who attends multiple churches a year, the unfortunate truth is that I run into a majority of Christians who are living life the same way. They know a lot, but they don’t do a lot.
James gives us the same warning in chapter 1 verse 22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” There is a time for learning and a time for application, and I think the moment we close our Bibles or leave the church we are called to action.
Don’t let the spirit God has given you passively stand by when it is called to action in this chaotic world. Be men who rise to that challenge, applying knowledge to make a dent in the evil that tries to take us all out, while pushing the kingdom of God farther into enemy territory.