Monday, April 27, 2015

Reflections of a graduating Northland Student - What have I learned?

When I came to Northland I had a small view of God, a big view of myself, and a view of Scripture that saw it as a big book of expectations that I had no hope of ever meeting. I felt very self-important because I had been in the Navy for 4 years before college, and I was also older than most of the students. I had anger festering in my heart toward God for things that had happened in my past and this resulted in a deep bitterness in my heart. Because of this bitterness I was unable to love people. I didn't want to let anyone get close to me because they might see me for who I really was.

I interacted with students on campus and with people at my church, but these interactions were very superficial. I couldn't love people because my anger and bitterness was so dominating the way I interacted with everyone.

After my first year at Northland my view of God and of myself began to change. My view of God began to expand as I sat under professor's like Bryan Blazosky, Brent Belford, and Phil Trach. These men opened the Word and taught it with passion. I began to see my God as totally sovereign and beyond my comprehension. My God was a "box breaker"...as Dr. Brown spoke about at Missions conference my Sophomore year. He could not be tamed...however, though He could not be understood fully from Scripture, He could be understood TRULY. I could learn truth about who my God was from Scripture, and I began to become very excited about this truth.

As time went on I became more and more aware of the fact that through my joy that I had in God, I could be empowered by the Holy Spirit to obey Him. Now, this does not mean that I could be sinless...but God could work in me through the Word to change me. As I delighted in Him from what I read about Him in the Word...I could change. And another liberating thing for me was the fact that sanctification doesn't happen over night...sanctification is a process by which I am made more and more into the image of Christ. It is a gradual process. You see, I had grown up being taught Keswick theology...which teaches that when you dedicate your life to God, you are elevated to a higher level of spirituality...this teaching always left me disappointed feeling as though I could never measure up. But when I understood sanctification rightly, I understood that it was a process...it is "taking the next step spiritually"...as Northland Camp taught me.

When it came to dealing with the bitterness in my heart...this came through an internship I did with a previous Northland Professor (Dr. Fellars) when I interned at his church in Maroa, IL. It was there that God showed me my own bitterness, and I began to deal with it...and in time I found myself able to love as I'd never been able to love people before.

Northland was also where I met my beautiful girlfriend...and I cannot thank God enough for bringing her into my life. I am so blessed...

So...all this rambling is to say that God has used Northland so much in my life. Could God have done the same things in my life at a different college? Certainly...God can do what He wants...but He especially used Godly faculty, staff, students...and just the general community of Northland to change my life in a way that I will be forever grateful for.

These words were motivated by the fact that after this year Northland will likely be closing. If you want more details about why, click here to read Northland's statement about it, and click here to read Dr. Albert Mohler's statement about it. Please pray for Northland!

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