Recently, there was a study done by the Pew Forum that looked at American’s knowledge about religions. It didn’t just look at what Americans knew about Christianity, but about other world religions as well.
You can take their short 15 question survey and see how you do on their test!
I took it and got 14 out of 15 correct, but as I really considered the questions they were asking I realized that the reason I knew the answers was not because of anything I ever learned or heard of in church necessarily - but because of several classes I took in college on World Religions and Christian Theology.
Then I was talking to my Mom over the weekend - she’s a high school history teacher and several sections of AP classes. She was bemoaning how hard it was to teach her classes about the Reformation because they didn’t understand enough about Christianity or theology to understand what really transpired.
Can you describe the Reformation? And why it was so important?
Here’s the thing that has me concerned. It’s a wonderful thing to “believe” and “have faith”. Those things are precious to God. But the Bible also says things like this:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to god as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
So how do we have our minds renewed and know the will of God?
Well, it doesn’t come by just sitting around in church listening to a sermon here and there - or by singing some worship songs - or by simply “believing”.
It comes when we pursue God:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
It comes when we pursue His Word:
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Here’s the thing. Our lives are full of tests and trials - no one is immune. But too many just hand around and live their lives and only really pursue God when things are hard. We’ve got things backwards.
The Word of God - truly studying it and allowing the truth to soak deeply within you - that needs to happen every day. If we do that - when the test comes - the truth and wisdom we need is right there. When we’ve spent the time to put the truth in - then it’s the truth that comes out when we need it.
Would you sign up for a class and then only show up on the testing days?
Or would you go to class, take notes, learn, ask questions and study - then go take the tests?
It’s the same with our walk with God. We have to walk with Him every day - learn, grow and study what it means to be a Christian - and a follower of Christ. We have to choose to make it a priority. We can’t just talk about it. We can’t just think it’s a good idea but do nothing.
We must act.
And if you do, then when the trials of life come - and they will come - you’ll be ready. And you’ll know beyond a shadow of doubt that you aren’t alone.
Sarah Anne Sumpolec