I’m in Seminary; Help Me
I’m in seminary; help me. The ability to determine that a verb is a Pi”el Active Participle in no way guarantees that I am able to parse my own discouragements. That I’ve read 2,500 pages of Jonathan Edwards in 3 months doesn’t mean that I’m actively, intentionally, and currently delighting in the God who is much more than the sum total of all my theology. The fact that I have a pair of letters after my name that designate me the leader of a dorm full of 118 good men doesn’t mean that I don’t fight many of the same battles they do daily.
Being in seminary in no way decreases my need to be reminded of the gospel daily. There is no pedestal that elevates any man above the unsheathed claws of the roaring lion, the seductive calls of the alluring world, or the foul beast of his own resurgent former nature. The second a pedestal is considered to be a shield is the second a pedestal proves itself to be rather opposite in function.
As I look at myself and my own hesitations to extend the kindness of counsel, I realize that the greatest fear is being perceived as patronizing. I don’t want to be like the driver’s ed teacher who insistently told me that maintaining a four second gap between myself and the car ahead is critical to my survival as a driver and entirely possible reality. I don’t want to be advocating something that we all know and believe, but obviously doesn’t have any power in your life because you’re in seminary and therefore know the gospel and gospel implications.
If we believed the gospel perfectly, we wouldn’t ever be miserable. We wouldn’t get stuck in ruts where we grow discouraged, grow imbalanced in our theology, grow harsh or timid or selfish or insensitive or gluttonous or myopic or proud or lustful or gossipy or demanding. We wouldn’t spiral from the lush gardens of self-sacrificial servanthood to the desert of entitlement where any sense of joy has evaporated into the ever-thirsty air. The fact that we don’t live as Jesus shows our blindness, our inability to take information and process it to lifestyle perfection, our desperate need for other pairs of eyes to scout our lives and the humility to actively invite and embrace correction.
So I am in seminary; please help me. Help me remember the gospel, help me remember the faith given once for all the saints, help me remember that the truest thing about me is Christ standing in heaven as an intercessor whose intercession has absorbed all wrath and guaranteed all favor. Help me remember that the Lord is my shepherd, that I shall not want, that his rod and staff correct and comfort. Help me remember that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. Remind me that young men are to set example in faith, hope, purity, and love, and that God will be faithful to complete what he has begun.
My sanctification is a community project. So is yours. God give us boldness and humility.