The spiritual practice of study unearths wisdom and treasures for our spiritual journey. Going deeper through study nourishes the mind, heart, and spirit and leads to a healthy spirituality.
In March, we are exploring how this practice as a spiritual discipline strengthens our faith. Each month on my Thursday posts, I pick one theme (or person of faith) to explore deeper. I call this series Tending the Holy Thursdays.
As usual I created a free download for you and this month it is something different – an infographic called “The 7 C’s of the Practice of Study.” You can get this infographic for your reference and even use as a bookmark at no cost by clicking on the button at the end of the post. It is my hope and prayer that this series and the download will enhance your walk with God.
The following two weeks here on Healthy Spirituality, we will dive deeper into the 7 C’s of the Practice of Study. Last week I introduced this topic with the post “Nourishing a Healthy Spirituality – The Practice of Study” and today I will share more background on its value and importance.
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What is Study?
One of my favorite books, a top shelf book, one I reread yearly is Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline.
Foster defines the practice of study as “a specific kind of experience in which through careful attention to reality the mind is enable to move in a certain direction. Remember, the mind will always take on an order confirming to the order upon which it concentrates.”
Foster explains “What we study determines the kind of habits that are formed, which why Paul urges us to focus on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious.”
Reminds of the saying from Earl Nightingale: “You become what you think about.”
Study is both head – the analytical and heart – the application. The combination of the two elements working together results in transformation.
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Study – the Deep, Not the Shallow
Our world is drowning in shallowness right now. Our culture exhumes sound bites, fast fixes, and Cliffnote summaries.
We need to study to put down deep roots that will sustains us in difficult stormy times and brings healthy nourishment to both our mind and hearts.
A.W. Tozer challenges us to “Follow hard after God.”
Living deep takes awareness, intention and time. We face life’s complex circumstances, wrestle with those difficult Biblical passages and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in admitting what we don’t know or understand.
Study requires work.
Study – A Lifelong Discipline
Study is a lifelong discipline. Lifelong implies a continual learning, repeating some lessons over and over again. Discipline refers to applying study, not by accident, by intention.
A lasting, constant desire to grow and feed our hearts and minds through a planned course of study.
Study grows through the seeking of ideas, the concentrating on the message, and allowing reflection and transformation to emerge.
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If you are a regular reader of Healthy Spirituality, you know by now I am a book lover. Those of us who love to read and write, fall into the practice of study with enthusiasm. But what is exciting about study is that we can learn not only by books, but in all sorts of ways.
I do love books, especially opening and delving into the Scriptures. Remember, though, we come to the Bible, not just to gather information, but to be changed and transformed.
God gives us so many other ways to enjoy this practice too:
Nature teachers us her wisdom if we look for her lessons purposefully.
Listening deeply to others, their experiences, their thoughts without judgment expands the mind and enlarges our hearts.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Rereading this today I know this post sounds more like background than helpful nitty-gritty on how to study. I do plan to come back to the basics with tips and how to’s next Thursday as we delve into the 7 C’s Spiritual Practice of Study. Don’t forget to download the infographic by clicking on the button below.
Next Tuesday I plan to introduce a new monthly column – The Healthy Spirituality Book Chat where I will feature a book I am studying and what I am learning from its words.
And speaking of books, I am celebrating my birthday week by lowering the price of one of my books now through March 19, 2017. If you have never been on a retreat before or want to go deeper with this practice, you may be interested in a book I wrote last year, Spiritual Retreats: A Guide to Slowing Down to be with God.” Both the e-book and the print versions are $2.00 off this week only on Amazon.
How does this essay about the discipline of study affect you? What do you think? How do you use study in your spiritual walk? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Nancy Ruegg says
With you, Jean, I love to study the Bible, gleaning the instruction, strength, and inspiration I need for life. Our church pastors encouraged us all to participate in a studylight.org reading plan for 2017: the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. Each day’s portion is a chapter or two. I’ve been reading with a notebook and pen nearby to jot comments and questions. Thus far, in spite of reading some familiar passages, I still find words, phrases and statements that speak to me. Just yesterday, 2 Timothy 1:14 brought tears to my eyes as I considered the exceptional “deposits” made into my life by my parents, grandparents, people in the churches we attended, etc., etc. through the years. SO many depositers! And praise to the Holy Spirit who has guarded all those deposits! That verse was already underlined in my Bible, but I think age has made me appreciate more the spiritual input of countless mentors over the decades.
Jean Wise says
That sounds like a cool Bible reading plan. I will check it out. I am into Ephesians right now and like you said, at times, can’t get beyond one word. I am really marking up my new bible underlying, highlighting, writing in the columns. Wow neat that the verses were already underlined. really neat.
Hi Jean! God has been telling me to spend time reading, and you have pointed out very vividly how important it is too keep learning.
We don’t have all the answers (or even all the right questions!), and the insights and knowledge of others is really important to our formation as followers of Christ. I don’t always have to agree with what I read, but it’s always thought-provoking and gets me focused back on what’s important…my spiritual life in the middle of my earthly one.
Jean Wise says
me re the reading. I seem to be skimming so much and not going deeper – which is why I am going to do this new idea – a monthly book chat. I spend yesterday morning rereading a book and rediscovered why and how much I loved it. hopefully will be Tuesday posts and maybe – gasp – a video. I chose study as this month’s practice to get me back into it. LOL Blessings on your week!
Lisa notes says
Celebration of Discipline is a top-shelf book for me too, Jean! It was revolutionary to me the first time I read it, and I’ve read it several times since. Study is one of my natural bents so I appreciate you sharing about it today.
Jean Wise says
Robert Benson speaks about savoring certain books as top shelf books, and be sure to visit them often. I love that term. I could have guessed Fosters book would be one of your favorite too. Have a wonderful weekend!!
Martha Orlando says
Learning is a treasure that follows us everywhere, that’s for sure, Jean. I do love my Bible reading daily; I learn so much from the Scriptures that I can apply to my life. And, of course, I enjoy the inspiration and new ideas I get from blogs like yours that espouse Christian values. Thanks for blessing us with Healthy Spirituality!
Jean Wise says
I deeply into Ephesians lately. Often not getting beyond one verse or even one word – savoring each meaning. I do so enjoy your blog too, Martha. So glad we are connected.