The Confident Girl: Seeks Growth
Written By: Haylee Roberts
This summer, I am involved with an amazing internship at my local church. I have been incredibly blessed to study under some Godly men and women while also learning alongside some of my very close friends. I am so grateful for the opportunity and I recognize what a rare blessing this is. With that being said, early on in the internship, my perspective was challenged by a few simple words from some friends.
I was talking to a close friend of mine who is involved with a different church internship in another state and I excitedly asked her what she had been learning, how it was going, etc. She expressed what the Lord had been teaching her in terms of spiritual growth, gentleness, grace, and repentance. Her response was not what I expected and it caught me off guard. I'm sure you're wondering why a simple response such as this would catch me off guard, but it was her follow-up question that really rocked my world. She said something along the lines of "I know you're reading a lot and learning, but are you doing this reading in order to grow in godliness or merely for the sake of knowledge?" I want to preface my response to this question with an explanation that although her inquiry may seem harsh, she was asking out of a heart of gentleness and kind rebuke.
Initially, I was irritated by her concern. Obviously I was not only seeking knowledge to have a brain full of information, right? My knee-jerk reaction was to be wounded and angry that she would ask such a silly question. In the moment, I brushed her off and told her I was not only learning for the sake of knowledge. Later that week, the subject surfaced again. This time with my pastor and in a completely unrelated context. He again had the same admonition "Do not seek knowledge for mere intellectual gain, but rather the doctrine you study should produce growth in your life and cause you to look more like our Lord." This advice was not given to me directly, but it was a stab to the heart I had needed.
In the book How Does Sanctification Work? David Powlison describes sanctification in the context of single moments or events that mark a believer's life and cause major impact. This was one of those moments. I had to take a serious look at my life. Why was I reading so many theology books? Why was I concerned with what the Bible said? Was it because I desired godliness? Yes. Of course I desired godliness. Yes, I wanted the Word to renew me. But was this my ultimate purpose in studying? No. My ultimate purpose was to gain knowledge merely for the sake of intellect. I had not been considering how this new knowledge should cause me to change. I was not concerned with the way the good theology should cause me to change my life. I just wanted to know what it was, not implement it in my life.
After this realization, admittedly, I was discouraged. It took the Holy Spirit's pulling on my heart to cause me to recognize that it wasn't too late. I possessed the knowledge, but now I had to use it. My brain is not a place to store up information that can be used in order to elevate myself, but rather a tool that should be used to influence heart change. As R.C. Sproul said “The Word of God can be in the mind without being in the heart; but it cannot be in the heart without first being in the mind.”
We must know the information before we can expect to grow from it, but we cannot expect to grow from it by hiding it in our brains and not in our hearts. So I encourage you ladies, know your Bibles, study under biblical teachers, hide away the truths of Scripture in your heart, but do not forget to USE that information. I have spent too much time intellectually loving the Word, but not loving the Word with my actions. May we all be women marked by our understanding of good doctrine, but more importantly by our pursuit of godliness.
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