In his famous book The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis says, “Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God…For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?”

As I look onward to my coming year of adventure, travel, and learning there are the obvious eager excitements and stirring emotions, but there so much more than that. I am learning more and more about this program and I understand that as much as the teaching is faith based and focused on our personal walks with God –it is not just for Christians. The students will range from all walks of faith and as much as this excites me it also intimidates me.

As you may or may not know from my past blog Why Do I Believe? I am not the best with confrontations regarding my faith. When posed with questions, not even very difficult questions about why I believe what I believe, I caved with nothing to back up what I believe. No real reasons for why I believe what I believe.

This was one of my main reasons for wanting to dive into this school program; so that I could better root my self and develop tangible answers to the questions I would face –which I am still hoping to obtain from this coming year. But knowing that I will be living with people from all walks of life who will challenge my beliefs, I’m nervous. I’m already intimidated by them and the anticipated debates I may encounter. I understand that I will be living with some incredible people and will definitely learn from them –how can you not learn from such different people when stuck with them for such a long period of time in such close proximity. For this reason I am excited to embark in this quest.

I often get caught up in what the Bible tells, and when people ask me questions I need to have biblical references to back myself up –which I do believe is important. But I am reminded by Thomas’s thoughts, that it’s more than just being able to battle scripture with people. What good is studying the scripture if you can’t back it up with your lifestyle. And this is where I want to place my focus for the next month leading up to this new adventure.

I know I may not know everything about my faith, I am still learning and plan to learn much more through this next year. I know challenges will be thrown in my face and I may fall flat on my face with nothing to stand firm on, but I know I will learn from that.But rather than dwelling –and anticipating- on that so-called failure, I want to focus on my lifestyle. How am I living right now. Do I represent a life that is glorifying to God? Do I live a life that brings honor and praise to His name? Am I approachable, trustworthy, kind, loving, selfless, an encourager, a listener? And if not, what needs to change? How can I better develop these characteristics so that when people see me, they see something different. They see that there’s something greater than anything that is dwelling inside of me. They will recognize that and discussion may erupt from this desire to imitate the life of Christ. So, this is my challenge for myself for the following month, and I pass on the same challenge to you. How are you living your life, and is it a life that demonstrates a desire to grow closer with God, a desire to live a life that imitates the life lived by Jesus Christ.

“He who follows me, will not walk in darkness” –John 8:12

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