Study

Study is a specific kind of experience in which through careful attention to reality the mind is enabled to move in a certain direction. Remember, the mind will always take on an order conforming to the order upon which it concentrates. Perhaps we observe a tree or we read a book. We see it, feel it, understand it, draw conclusions from it. And as we do, our thought processes take on an order conforming to the order in the tree or book. When this is done with concentration, perception, and repetition, ingrained habits of thought are formed.

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 63

Foster claims there are two “books” to be studied: the verbal and nonverbal. We reads books and lectures, and we observe nature, events, and actions. Book smarts and street smarts. Knowledge and wisdom. We apply ourselves. We take the posture of a student. We open ourselves, and learn.

The study of these “books” can take on various shapes, but Foster thinks the discipline involves four steps: 1) repetition, 2) concentration, 3) comprehension, and 4) reflection.

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul writes:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hit the “books.” Ask God, through study, to transform your mind.

Discern, then Respond

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