Seminary in many ways can distract the Christian from his daily need to meet with God. It is easy to get sucked into studying about God, getting our theology right, and neglecting our time with God. Many authors and bloggers have written about such a subject. But what I haven’t seen written on is what I will work through in this post to spur you to prepare yourself from the distraction that seminary can be.
My wife and I moved to Kansas City so I could continue pursuing my Masters of Divinity on campus. While I considered living off campus, it was financially wise for us to live on campus. But it wasn’t until we moved into our apartment on campus that I realized how dangerous it could be to the Christian seminarian forgetting the commission of Christ to evangelize and get caught up with the ease of seminary life on campus.
We have lived in our apartment for a little over a week now. I am currently applying for jobs in the general area. My wife is preparing to teach this August at a Christian private school in a city Northeast of the seminary. It would be nice to find an on campus job where all of my time could be spent within the boundaries of the seminary. Our only time off campus would be to drive to church and shop for our weekly needs. But packing up and moving five hours north from our church in Arkansas to live a safe and quaint life isn’t what God has called us to do.
I have a little over a month to prepare my schedule balancing seminary classes, job, pastoral residency, and marriage. I can let working those few things out distract me from reading my Bible on my own, reading the Bible with my wife, and praying. So what can I do to ensure that I don’t let seminary become a distraction from the things that God tells me to manage well? Right now I should be taking every opportunity to lead my wife in family worship and seek time with the Lord during the day, and get a hold on my time management. If not, I will become distracted by seminary life with the result; I will become stunted in my sanctification and my desire for knowing God will lapse.
As Christian seminarians, we must be on guard against the things that Satan can use to distract us from being conformed to the image of Christ. One of those things can be seminary. It is easy to get tangled up in reading a lot of books, and going to a lot of events. I even saw this with students while I was in undergraduate studies. It can seem like we are doing so much around the things of God when in reality we need to be seeking to know God. J, I Packer states in his book Knowing God, “Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives.” I am uneasy with the idea of letting my textbook studies of God be a replacement meal for my time with God in His Word. Seminary is not a replacement meal for the real thing, which why we need daily time in the Word. Remember that God has brought you to seminary so He can continue the work He started in you. We are not to forgo the daily examination of our heart to be sure we are still in the faith. But when we do succumb to the distractions I’ve described, we may have already succumbed to them. Seminary is not for the Christians who have it all pat down in the church and need something extra to challenge them. Seminarians are not the spiritual elite. God has said that the church is the “…pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 CSB). Let us pay careful attention to ourselves as we pursue extra biblical training in seminary. It is not in of itself a distraction, but through Satan’s befuddling ways it can become one.