One day early in my first semester at grad school I was walking with one of my best friends and a mentor of mine Nathan Shank. We were just walking through the woods on one of those sunny days that are cool and bright, and the wind in the trees just seem to speak of beauty and life. We spoke of many things, turkey hunting, classes, marriage, and he asked me what I struggled with most.
This question is so often repeated and alluded to in conversations I have, and it’s always in the context of the overall living of life: “What do you struggle with?” Sometimes people respond with things like school or work or some other objective task, but the vast majority speak of relationships. Sometimes with a spouse or significant other, sometimes a friend, and sometimes an enemy is the troubled relationship, but many times, they respond by saying that the struggle is with their personal relationship with God. This is not because they are “spiritually superior” or some for anything other than a realization that when your relationship with God struggles, so does the rest of your life: a realization that if your first priority is weak, you will be struggling in your heart, and therefore in your life.
The important thing to remember is that God is your Creator, that he is relational, that he is personally concerned with you. It is relationship. It is not religion. So it is crucial to maintain a healthy relationship with God and avoid struggling in your relationship with God by a lack of prayer and a lack of spending time reading his Word, which teaches, trains, guides, disciplines you in the knowledge of God, life, yourself, others.
Most always my response to this question, whether to someone’s asking or from my own introspection, is that my biggest struggle is my personal time and relationship with God, and it is because of me: too busy, wrong priorities, selfishness and apathy.
I have really been impacted recently by SEBTS president Dr. Akin’s recent podcast series on “How to Study, Interpret, and Teach the Bible” which can be found on iTunes or at http://apps.sebts.edu/president/. He is four installments into the series. One thing I’ve always dealt with is knowing how to read God’s Word. Akin’s podcasts are relevant not only to teachers but also to individuals desirous of growing and maturing in understanding of God and life.
Another great link that will be of great help, especially for those getting into consistent time and study of God’s Word is http://wesley.nnu.edu/gnt/, and another is http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm. They are both extremely helpful in reading the original language.
Intellectual Worship, being the use of our God-given intellect to glorify God, is all about being in the Word of God and being with people so that we may be about the will of God for us, which is to obey God as a love response to him for what he has already done for us. Since we are to be about the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20: as we are going, make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them all that Jesus has taught us.