-Studying is not enough-

One of my favorite verses in the Bible concerning school and studying is Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Anytime I don’t feel like studying, I just read this verse and some way, some how my lack of motivation becomes temporarily justified. Regardless, I end up studying anyway to prepare myself for the test. Unfortunately, I have realized several times in the past that studying alone does not guarantee good grades. Good decisions also encourage these letters of congratulations (or condemnation) from the teacher.

Now I will dig deep into my repertoire of experiences to tell a story of which my desire is for you to benefit... AKA I messed up, so listen to this and maybe you won’t make the same mistake!

After a long night of studying for exams at North Greenville College, I felt that I was as ready as I was going to be. Some of my friends wanted go to the gas station down the road for some energy drinks and candy (really anything that would help them stay up later to study). One innocent trip to the gas station turned into a 3-hour social visit to the local Waffle House. After waffles, hash browns, and about $3 worth of quarters put into the jukebox for some after dinner singing, I looked at my watch and realized that my exam started in just a few short hours. At that moment I had an epiphany. I said to myself, “Self, you need to go home and go to bed. You have an important test to take in three hours.” Despite the excellent advice I gave to myself, I chose an alternative route. I decided that since I would only get about 2 hours of sleep if I left immediately, it would be better if I just stayed up and then took the exam. I could sleep after the test, and after some persuasion from my colleagues I decide to officially pull an “all nighter.”

I was confident going into my exam… a confidence that would soon dissipate within the first 30 minutes of the test. I was struggling to focus on the questions; all I could think about were the Elvis songs we sang with the waitresses at the Waffle House only hours before. I ended up passing the class (Yes, I believe in miracles!) and graduating. However, I learned a valuable lesson: Just because you study for a test doesn’t mean that you are going to pass it. There are other elements involved. These would include being alert, getting a good night’s sleep before the test, and APPLYING yourself.

Christians study all the time. People can go to church, go to Sunday School, read their devotions everyday, and do all the things that Christians do. Yet, this is not enough. It’s one thing to learn about Christian truths and how to be more Christ-like; it’s a whole other thing to actually apply them. Christians have to apply the truths they are taught in church and through their own personal studies. If you don’t apply these to your life, then they aren’t doing you any good! Your heart and your life – not just your brain – need to be an example to others. So as you read your Bible everyday, don’t do it just to say you spent time with God and can check devotions off your list. Think about how you can apply the teachings and principles that you are reading in your own life. God will use this to grow you spiritually and mentally, preparing you for the daily “tests” of life. And as for the Waffle House... I would recommend the pecan waffles with extra maple syrup, but just not on the night before exams.

-Spending time in the Word-

“All men die, but not all men truly live.” -Mel Gibson, in Brave Heart.

1. Deuteronomy 26:16-19 shows that keeping God’s commands doesn’t mean just knowing them in your head, but obeying them in your heart.
2. Look in Romans to read about life with the true Spirit- Romans 8:1-17.

-Hiding the Word in your heart-

Memorize these verses as you continue to study the Word of God daily.

1. John 1:12- “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
2. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15- “And he died for all, that those who should live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

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