A Gospel Centered Perspective On Academics – Part 2

In our previous conversation, we set the foundation of our discussion on the most pivotal factor, Jesus Christ. With the rise of learning and academics, it is easy to lose sight of the things that matter most. Many people are swallowed up in the thinking that all we have here on earth is all we will ever get. That thinking has caused people to live only for what pleases their minds and hearts and egos. It is all selfish and it seen more clearly among the young generation. Study and hard work has been replaced with cheating in exams and a thirst for good appearance among the people. Education is good but when wrongly placed, it will cause havoc to the learner. There are things we need to consider as we think of our educational pursuits. If our minds do not rest well on these thoughts then we know we are building on sinking sand.

God designed Academics for His own glory and not for man’s boasting!

Thus, says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, (24) but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24

There is a warning here that I see fits in with the kind of situation we are in today. Your wisdom is sinking sand in regards to the life after; the life that we look forward to more. No matter how well educated you may want to be; no matter how many times they tell you that it’s the key to all things, both the educated and the uneducated must see the grave and woe unto them if their lives were outside of the hedge of grace. The psalmist says-

Psalms 49:10-13 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. (11) Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. (12) But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. (13) This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Be warned by the Spirit of the Lord dear friend. Those who trust themselves must perish.

Ecclesiastes 2:13-16 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. (14) The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. (15) Then I thought in my heart, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said in my heart, “This too is meaningless.” (16) For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!

1Corinthians 3:18-20 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. (19) For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; (20) and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

Having grown up in a culture that has upheld thieves for leaders, goons for mentors and silenced the voice of the righteous, we need warning against boasting in riches. Riches are ok but not the ultimate, for when your soul shall face the fiery fury of the anger of God, riches and learning will not save you. Do not boast in these riches dear friend- and if you should have them, do not have them by lies, deception, swindling, bribery, and corruption. When they are finally yours, remember that Jesus warned that riches have a capacity to demand worship!

Job 31:24-28If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ (25) if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, (26) if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendour, (27) so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, (28) then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

Proverbs 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Zephaniah 1:18Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”

All your boasting, if there is any, should be squarely on this opposite fact- that you KNOW the Lord and you UNDERSTAND he who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth. However, there is a problem here; for no man can fully claim full knowledge of and understanding of the Lord, (though in salvation, we get to know parches and segments of who God is and in, small ways start to understand his ways yet even that isn’t complete. Paul says that one day we shall know fully). His ways are beyond our ways and his goings forth are unsearchable. In essence, God is saying it clearly- no man has any reasons to fill his/ her head up; not with much learning, much strength or much wealth. Other than the fact that education can never give physical strength, we believe that education/ academics is the way to wisdom and wealth. Friends, wisdom and wealth have zero ability to open the fountains of grace for you.

All learning and knowledge seeking must find its truest end in the knowledge of God. Science, Mathematics, Quantum physics, Chemistry and literature, all of these find their truest end in the life of a person when they lead that man/ woman down at the feet of the cross where all of them are made nothing/ empty/ void/ hollow/ futile.

Question: Is this kind of thinking anything close to what or who you are? Forget about what others have said. This is what the scripture reminds us. Is it a reflection of who you are? Is your learning bringing glory to God or pride in your heart? How is it helping others to come to the glorious knowledge of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?

God created man. He gave him the mental capacity to perceive things, invent this or unearth the other. He put intelligence in the heart of man for man’s joy and not man’s worship. Worshipping the created things rather than the creator is the greatest mistake of man- especially in matters to do with academic prowess. God designed academics; otherwise, man would have been a barbaric creature. To take my academics as the key to life is to point a finger back at God and say, “I am fine now. You are not consequential in my life anymore!” Many today have wandered into that great mistake. High school and college students need to be reminded these things. They need to know that they are self-sufficient much as they ace it in their schoolwork. They need to be mindful that after graduation, God does not throw a party for us. They need to redirect to the eternal things that make for life and godliness. If they do not hear these things, then they will plunge into a dark miserable end with all the fame, money and head knowledge the world can give! We need a paradigm shift today.

As you prepare to send that success card soon, please be mindful of this truth: Learning is good only if it helps the learner come to a point of being satisfied in God more fully; for in that satisfaction in God, God is most glorified!

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