I was talking with a friend over lunch about women's discipleship. There is a study currently being done on whether or not women's Bible study is a strong indicator of spiritual maturity (the study has not been published yet, I can't wait to read it). What a great question!
We were created for relationship and we live in a world that is increasingly disconnected in spite of technological advances that should move us toward connectivity. Think about it - internet, skype, cell phones, quick travel... we have no reason to not get together. And we long for it. Christian fellowship and community is a good thing and we ought to be doing life together. We should be eating meals in each other's homes. I hope that when Neil and I have kids they feel like they have a whole army of "second parents."
That being said, have you ever been a part of a "Bible study" where the Bible study seemed to be secondary in purpose? Have you ever been a part of a group that flutters on the surface and doesn't seem to want to dig deeper? Have you wrestled with this in personal Bible study? I know I have. Or how about in conversation? Have you ever found yourself saying, "Do we really need to talk about this? Can't we just love each other?" When we start talking about the things of God that are difficult to wrap our brains around (which it should be - He's astronomically bigger than my brain will ever comprehend), it's uncomfortable. It's hard work. It can stir up emotion. But let's not let that be the reason we don't think.
Here's the deal. Romans 12 tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Change happens when we think differently about God, ourself, and other people. This change can happen by many means (and not all of them are completely logical and linear in nature) but it is important to wrestle with the tough questions.
How you think and what you believe to be true about God will direcly impact how you relate to Him.
When you walk through a trial, you will draw on what you already believe about God. Do you understand God to be loving? Do you believe He has your best interests in mind? Is God really sovereign over all things? Those seemingly abstract theological questions all of a sudden become completely relevant.
Keep thinking, friends. Your theology matters.