In the last six months or so, my husband and I have had some really good conversations that have all circulated around the same basic ideas and topics. It all started one day when I had a mini breakdown about myself and my feelings of spiritual inadequacy. I am typically a pretty logical and academic person. By the term "academic", I don't mean that I am super smart or anything like that. What I mean by that term is that I think of things in an academic, factual, and concrete manner. I'm not very touchy-feely or emotional and the way I process things reflects that, including the way I often think of spiritual growth. Now, I know that spiritual growth is not about how much knowledge I have about the Bible, how many verses I can properly quote, whether or not I know all of the historical background that lends significance to each Biblical event etc. But, because I like to think of things in an "academic" manner, I began to judge my spiritual maturity based on the (lack of) number of books I had read about deep theological topics, the (lack of) deep Biblical group studies I had recently been a part of, and the (lack of) scripture I was able to quote.
Thankfully, God has blessed me with a husband who is more "academic" than me and is always a clear thinker. He gently reminded me, that while the pursuit of Biblical knowledge and theology is good, it can also become a god in our lives if that is the end we are pursuing. He also reminded me that I already know plenty about God and His desires for my life and challenged me to see if I was already doing what God was asking of me. It made me realize that I was getting caught up in the idea of being "Bible/Theology smart" instead of really focusing on letting the things that I already know about God to change me.
So I am trying to take these things to heart. Instead of berating myself for not reading all of the books that everyone says I "need" to read, I'm trying to concentrate on just living a life that is more Christ-like. For me, 1 John 4:7-8 coupled with 1 Corinthians 13, are the verses that I am really holding on to in this journey. The passage in 1 John tells us that whoever loves, is born of God and knows God. The passage in 1 Corinthians seems to take this to the next step and tells me exactly what love is. If I can work on really loving, as it is defined in the Bible, then I will grow in my faith, relationship, and knowledge of God.