Who’s writing do you study?
I get asked who’s writings and teachings I read and I rattle off a few from the top of my head, I went to write a list and of course I put the Bible first… but then I started looking at my list and I realized that I read a lot of people who have errors in their theology. I have grown to a point in my faith where I know what I believe and although open to criticism (from my peers) and willing to look at other scripture that “proves me wrong” to inspect my belief there is danger.
self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
Yeah I know it is a negative definition but it is something that I am more aware of. I don’t like to “shoot from the hip” but I can do it and it is a value when dealing with people struggling with their own faith, however finding ourselves relying on this method is a sign of complacency. We are to be ready to answer for our faith but we do not “arrive” in our study to the point where we can say we have learned all there is to know. Not on earth anyhow!
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Also I find that when we are NOT thirsty for the WORD of God is a sign of complacency. I love to read and constantly am fighting to find more time to study (and cutting into my other ways of relaxing aka Video Games) Between work, sermon prep, family time, counseling, volunteering and the other areas of ministry I find a need for more and more careful study.
not effective; not producing results;
Another danger is becoming ineffective in our ministry of the Gospel. Even as a pastor Timothy was warned to be sure that he was effective in the ministry and that included reading scripture and continuing in the apostle’s doctrine. It also included encourage to action and teaching other’s around them.
1 Timothy 4:13-16
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Another definition that I read for ineffective, was not just “not producing results” but “producing the wrong results.” The danger we face when we rely on ourselves or other’s interpretation is that we can produce the wrong results. The reason training and education are so important is not just for us to make sure of our salvation but for other’s around us to see the true Gospel.
Closely tied to this is the next concern that I have in becoming unfruitful.
Not producing good or helpful results; unproductive.
When we become complacent and ineffective in our Christian walk it shows itself further by the stopping of our production of fruit. If we are constant in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) then we are fruitful.. Not a hard concept to grasp, however we often get ourselves so far out of whack that we don’t see this in our own lives. One pastor this week (I forget who) asked on his blog “How would your church look if everyone in it led others’ to salvation like you? If they encouraged others like you, if they spoke out like you did if the Gospel was presented like you did it… How would your church look?”
As we read other’s we must constantly evaluate and study the many different facets of the authors and the theology they offer.
2 Peter 1:10
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
It is NOT just the PASTOR’s responsibility to be educated in the Gospel. We all must be able to answer for our faith.
I said all that to actually say this: