Advice to students in revision season
Dear students of King’s Church,
Because I don’t want to add to the list of things you’re trying to remember in revision season, I thought I’d write out some of what I said on Tuesday night at our Students Together meeting.
As I was thinking about what to say to you about revision and exams, I stumbled upon John 15, where Jesus is teaching His followers about life in Him:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”Like a lot of John’s gospel, this is deep stuff full of life. The picture Jesus uses is of a vine: Him being the plant and us being branches that grow from Him. He's saying that all the life we have is dependent on Him: “apart from me you can do nothing.” This life comes to us as we “abide” in Him, which He defines like this:
“If you abide in me and my words abide in you” (verse 7)Here are three commands from God for you that will give you life over the next few weeks (and beyond) if you take hold of them.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (verse 10)
“whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)Revision and exams clearly come under the category of “all”, don’t they? Ability, opportunity, resources – these things are gifts from God (even when they don’t feel like they are) which we are to use for His glory. This involves effort, perseverance, diligence, gratitude. This is part of our worship to God. Really!
This being the case, practical tips about helpful work patterns are more than just pragmatic: they could help you glorify God as you revise. If you've got a revision tip or encouragement, put it on the wall of our Facebook group.
“The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27)A Sabbath rest, one day off in seven, is instituted by God in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11, and also Deuteronomy 5:12-15). There's a principle of trust here: will you believe God's promise that working hard six days out of seven is better for your prospects? I've found this to be true in my life, even at really busy and important times. And will you accept the implicit principle that your work, which may seem all-consuming and demanding, is not the only thing in life that matters?
Sunday doesn't have to be that special day but I'd suggest that it's your best bet because there are church meetings to go to where you can worship Jesus and meet with Him, hear His truth, chat with friends (student lunch will of course be on) - all of which will bless and refresh you, which is part of the point of a Sabbath. Watch a film, enjoy the sun (if it stays around), get rested. Then get back to work on Monday!
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)Look at the deal God is offering you: peace and joy. Even during revision! How? By praying. Thank Him for all His goodness (dwell on this), ask for His help, talking honestly with Him, try to listen... and He will bless you.
Pray by yourself, get some worship music on if that helps, speak in tongues if you're able to: your mind will be inactive but your spirit will be getting strengthened (1 Corinthians 14:4, 14). Pray also when you meet for Small Group, look to care for one another and receive help from each other. You can also use our Facebook group to post prayer requests and loads of us will pray for you!
Those are three ways I believe God wants you to abide in Jesus over these next few weeks: work, rest, pray. As you do this, He will work in you, and will be developing your character in ways which will last far longer than your degree. Not only does this do you good, it will show people around you what Jesus is like: a more pressing need for them than their exams! You can also invite them to come to the Study Space we're running at the building to bless them. These are the fruits Jesus is talking about: growth in you, and evidence for others that He is alive.
Let's finish with Jesus, who tells you to abide in Him. He's the happiest person in the universe, and the most loving, and the most powerful. He offers you Himself, there's nothing you need more.
I'll be praying for you, that your work goes well and that you get to know God more over these next few weeks.
Lots of love,