Monday, June 22, 2015

What I Learned - Round 2

A few weeks ago, I finished my second seminary class (woooo hooooo!).
Seminary has been a completely different education experience than what I've known in the past. In college, I cared about the grade, and the degree. If I walked away with a degree in hand, and a semi-decent GPA to go along with it, I was a happy camper. Success was entirely output based. 
God has thrown me for a loop with seminary, showing me that success doesn't have to be measured by feedback. When God called me to this, He didn't say, "Amy, I want you to go and get abuncha A's." Or, "Just don't fail." Or even, "I've called you to do all of your homework in a timely and organized fashion."
No. He said something entirely different, He said:
"Amy, I want to show you more of Myself. I want you to know Me more."
And friends, you can't put a grade on that. 
So after each class, before I even see the grade result, I want to come back to this space and answer one question: "what did I learn?" 
Because for me, that's where the success comes from. Did I learn something? Am I walking out different than when I walked in? Do I know the heart and character of God better than when I started the class? 
And so today, we're talking about 1 Corinthians. And I'm telling you one of the many, many things I learned. 

In our final week of homework, there were multiple places for us to share take away points from our 10 weeks of study. I shared different ones each time, having enough thoughts to fill a plethora of assignments without repetition. I talked about how profoundly Paul's confidence inspired me, mainly due to the fact that he humbly recognized his unworthiness, yet was still immovably confident in God's calling over his life. 

I wrote about the overarching theme of unity through out the 16 chapter book, and how I previously saw topics as random and unrelated, but now can recognize the common purpose of diffusing division in the church. 
What I didn't realize until after the class, was how this overarching theme of unity spoke to me, personally. 
I was driving home to visit my family, and reflecting on my final paper. I thought about verse 1:10, where Paul exhorts the church to be "united in the same mind and the same purpose." 
I thought about how verse 2:16 proclaims "but we have the mind of Christ," and how this profoundly affects our unity of mind and purpose. Having the mind of Christ, means that the church is to be united in the very mind and purpose of Christ

We are not just to be united as Christians, for the purpose of Christians. We are to be united in the fact that our mind and purpose for life are both firmly rooted in Christ.

I probed a little deeper. What is the purpose of Christ that we are to be united in?, I asked myself.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us." 1 John 3:16

Jesus came to pursue us, He came to share God's love with us. There was no self-centered purpose in His agenda, each moment of His life was entirely focused on serving others. Glorifying His Father. Making God's love known on earth.

And so, I walk away from this class on 1 Corinthians with a renewed understanding of the calling of the church. The church is designed to display God's love to the earth, and we can only do that if His love is the very thing unifying us.

We are to be united in His mind, and in His purpose.

And this is where it got me. This is where it got practical.

Sharing God's love with the earth is absolutely the primary purpose of my life. But how does that manifest itself? Do I truly see that as the driving force of my behavior and thoughts through out the day?  

What is my purpose when I am feeling consumed with insecurity?

What is my purpose when I am overly demanding due to jealousy for my boyfriend's time and attention?

What is my purpose when I am comparing myself to the accomplishments of others?

Realizing the calling of the Christian has made me keenly aware of when I am not living out that calling. And the beauty of that is that there was no guilt or shame with this realization, there was only freedom.

That pesky insecurity? I can let it go, it doesn't align with the purpose of my life.

That self-centered jealousy for the time and affection of others? My purpose is to share love with others, not demand love from others.

That annoying comparison? No reason to compare when my purpose is to build God's kingdom, not mine.

I walk away from this class with a greater understanding of the role of the church, and how I, personally, fit into that. I walk away with a stronger sense of self awareness, with the ability to recognize when I am not functioning in alignment with the purpose of Christ.

I walk away feeling free to walk in my secure identity and calling in Christ, with hopes that sharing God's profound and life changing love with others will be the overflow.

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