The Bible School Graduate Syndrome

Homework in the scriptures, scheduled times of group worship and intercession, and classes on the person of Christ make for a wonderful environment of supercharged spiritual growth, but there are some perceived drawbacks many Bible School graduates fall into.

Going into Bible School, especially if you are a pretty young believer, is amazing. It is the perfect springboard into a life of faith in Christ. Teachers are daily pouring into you the Word of God and are assigning homework that requires you to look into the Bible. And unless you want a bad grade, you will do it. The Lord brings you face to face with Himself day after day.

But slowly you may start to build the expectation, This is what my whole Christian life is going to be like.

Personally, there were seasons at my Bible School (the EI School of Biblical Training), I lived in a state of awe-struck stupor. There were times I couldn’t wait for the P.E. section of our day to be OVER so I could go meditate and pray over the things that I learned in classes that day. My social life almost completely died while I was there – because all I really wanted was the truth of God’s Word. I wanted it to get solidified in my heart. I craved it. It fueled my diligence day after day.

Then, I graduated.

I quickly learned how important it is to daily fight the good fight of faith. In a Bible School you may not have to fight so hard. You don’t have to fight distractions to get in the Word because you are ALWAYS in the Word. You don’t have to carve out time to pray – its part of your class schedule. You don’t have to get involved in ministry, because that is part of the curriculum!

The Lord has been gracious to me. I was saved at the age of 7. I became a true follower of Christ very young. So, before I ever attended Bible School, I have experienced the fight. I had already tasted the regret of letting the world creep in and steal away my intimacy with Jesus. When I graduated, I knew what I was up against. The world, the devil, and the flesh are strong enemies. And my teachers were right when they told us it would be harder “out there”.

Unchecked, thoughts like these creep in:

  1. What’s wrong with me?
  2. Why is it so hard for me to stay in the Word?
  3. Why can I not pray?
  4. Why am I not abiding in Christ anymore?
  5. How can I discipline myself?
  6. I miss the way I “felt” before.
  7. Why does God feel so far away?

Every believer sometime in his or her life will probably face these questions. They just happen to be particularly brutal after exiting one of the most spiritually fruitful times of your life. So much so, that the tendency is to romanticize “Bible school” as an “extra-spiritual” place. Eg: “If only I can go back there, I will feel the Lord’s presence again.”

But, oh, the Lord is too gracious to be confined or limited to certain place or time of life. Intimacy is always available for His children and He yearns for fellowship with us.

These are the truths that help combat my wrong thinking.

  1. The Lord is near. Psalm 145:18 “the Lord is near to those who call on Him, to all who call on him in truth.” Y’all we don’t have to try to “regain spiritual ground” to get Jesus to come around. He is already near. Just acknowledge Him.
  2. We have all we need. 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” We don’t need Bible classes to be what the Lord has made us to be. We have Christ in us! This is literally all we need.
  3. Our own strength is inadequate. “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me” (Phil 3:14). We will fail when we try to do “good” on our own. If it is not fueled by Christ and done out of glory for Him, we are alone in it and it probably isn’t going to work out.
  4. We can have confidence in His presence. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16). We don’t have to feel ashamed to come before Him. Even if you haven’t had a quiet time in months! Don’t let that keep you away. When you come to the LORD, our FATHER, He sees His Son – Jesus! Be bold! Go to Him, anyway!
  5. Fruitfulness apart from Christ is impossible. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we are just sitting around waiting for stuff to happen…it won’t. We must pursue fellowship with Him in order for there to be an outflow of grace and fruit in our lives.

1 Timothy 6:12 urges us to, “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold the eternal life to which you were called…” And I urge you not to believe that intimacy with Christ is “out there” or “at school” or “for those kinds of people”.

You will rob yourself of so much joy.

 

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