Ashley Kendall is the Director of Technology Support at Stark College and Seminary. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry at SCS and serves as a volunteer at Corpus Christi Christian Fellowship. Read as she shares her thoughts on how we can glorify Jesus throughout our educational journey.

Our relationship with God is not based upon our good Christian deeds. It is not based on the charitable acts we do, the grades we get, or the denomination we belong to. It is not based on where we work or where we serve. It is not based on anything we can produce, achieve, or earn. Our relationship with God is solely based upon the work He did through Christ Jesus. It is not about what we do, but about what Christ did and is doing through the Holy Spirit, that we build our relationship and communion with our heavenly Father. The love of God in Christ Jesus is the rock on which our relationship with God stands.

Our deeds alone are also not enough to transform us into Christ’s image nor are they enough to cleanse us from our sin. We can oftentimes find ourselves like the Pharisees, so proud of what we have done and have not done, that we lose sight of our dire need of God’s mercy. Our deeds are the means by which we can seek after Christ. In and through them, we encounter the living and active presence of Jesus Christ, who takes away our sin and makes us new. We give ourselves to him and receive his mercy, his grace, his forgiveness, his truth, his worldview, his word, his ways, and his will. The love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus is the rock on which we can receive true forgiveness and transformation.

Throughout your educational journey at Stark, it will be tempting to primarily focus on your deeds and efforts; such as doing and saying all the right things, and/or getting good grades, etc. My encouragement to you is to focus more on Jesus, remembering that your studies are not the “end”. They are a means to the “end,” that is, knowing and glorifying your risen Savior, Jesus Christ, believing Him, walking with Him, and allowing Him to transform your lives from the inside out.