So, you think God called you to seminary so you can better serve God in the world? Awesome. Your seminary time will be sure to teach you many things about God and his Word. In order to exit seminary as passionate as you are about ministry now, you simply need to avoid a few common traps the enemy of our souls has placed in the seminary classroom.
Don’t compare. Your calling, your study habits, your gifting, your experience and all God created you to be is not like your classroom neighbor. Each of you have a role in the kingdom and each of you need to be who God created you to be. If you compare, then your focus is off of God’s creation in you and basically telling the Lord of the universe he messed up. Your gifts are your gifts. Your call is your call. His plan for your life is his plan for your life. Keep your focus on Jesus, not on your neighbor. It only leads to pride or discouragement.
Hold Your Dreams Lightly. As you move through seminary, your dreams and desires for the future might change. Don’t beat yourself up about it. God is teaching you and forming you through this learning experience. If you thought you were going to be a senior pastor, but realize through your seminary time that your passion is really to teach future pastors, then go in that new direction. If you thought you wanted to focus on the New Testament but think you should change your emphasis, there is no shame. God has a way of changing our dreams in seminary.
Practice Trust. God led you to seminary, so he will lead you through. It is an easy trap to think we need to do this seminary thing, but forget to trust in His leading through the process. In ALL your ways (including your seminary ways) acknowledge Him (include him, seek his counsel, entrust your heart to him), and He WILL direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6). You do not need to do seminary FOR God, He is leading you to do seminary with Him.
If you don’t compare, hold your dreams lightly, and practice trust in the Lord, you will avoid some common traps of the seminarian’s heart.
What other traps do you think are common? Leave a comment!