Tom Gilson

Summer Reading: To Grow and Thrive

Monday Student Focus
So school is over for the summer now, unless you live or study where it continues into mid-June. Last time in this space I gave a recommendation for summer reading . Maybe the idea of summer reading is interesting to you, maybe not. I think back to my student days, and I remember people saying, “If you want to grow as a Christiyou have to read.” They were right. But the world has changed since then throughout the West, and I would have to add this now: If you want to survive as a Christian you have to grow. Reading is less of an option, more of a necessity than ever. The word is this: read to grow, read to thrive.

In the Form of a Book

There’s something about Christianity that’s so obvious almost everyone overlooks it: God gives us his primary revelation in the form of a book. He calls on us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We are to love God with all our minds (Luke 10:27). Among other things this means study. We grow in knowledge of God in many ways; one of them is by growing in knowledge.

Never So Necessary As Now

Here’s what’s changed now, though, compared to when I was in college: it used to be a lot easier to coast. It was never the best thing; it was never complete discipleship; it was never fitting in response to how God loves us: but it was at least possible to fit in church as a Christian without having to dig too deep in knowledge.

That was then. That was before Christianity’s goodness was challenged the way it is now. It was before the rise of rampant relativism, and the tyrannical ethic of tolerance. It takes much deeper understanding now to live in Christ and to demonstrate his goodness to a world looking at us askance.

Read to Grow

I don’t mean that knowledge is the only thing. There’s much more to mission than that. There’s more to relationship with God and with others. There’s even much more to knowledge than book learning.

But it’s summertime. Your school studies have let up for now. It’s a great time to dive into something that will help you grow spiritually — and not just to survive, but to thrive.

I’ll have more book recommendations coming.


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