You know them. The “smart ones”. The “brainiacs”. They are the kids in your class that seem as if school is natural to them. It’s almost as if it is effortless. They actually smile while working. People might say it is because they are just natural learners. And while I agree some individuals are more drawn to curiosity and learning, I think it is a lot more of a conscious choice.
Unfortunately school has never been one of my favorite things and I have always struggled with loving the Lord with my mind. I have had many debates with my parents and teachers about how school can surely not be that important to God. Why would God care if I liked algebra or not? (In my case, it has always been the latter) Does God really mind if I slack off on my writing assignments because they aren’t enjoyable to me? Certainly God can understand if I really don’t prefer learning about the Civil War. Are we really commanded to glorify God through school and if so, why?
I have come up with some reasons and verses that have helped show me that God really wants, even commands, us to love him with our mind.
1. Our minds are a gift from a God of truth.
Our God is a god who loves truth and wants his people to love it as well. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 ESV) How are we to know truth if we rebuff learning? Does this apply to all truth? Isn’t God talking about just spiritual truth? Yes, I believe that is a big part of what he is referring to, but I think this verse can also be applied to learning about “material” things as well. God has given every person a mind. Do you ever think of your mind as a gift? I know I usually don’t. But it is and we need to appreciate it. If someone gave you a mansion as a gift, you wouldn’t leave empty. You would want to live in it, and enjoy it to it’s fullest capacity. And you would be very thankful to the person that gave it to you. Treat your mind the same way. Be a truth seeker.
2. Our minds need a transformation.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV) We are loving God when we transform our minds. How are we going to determine what is right and true if we aren’t improving our minds by spending time studying? I don’t believe there is a way.
3. Our minds are a beautiful creation made by a wonderful creator.
God made everything in this world. We can honor him and glorify him by learning about his creation. We should desire to study more about his handiwork. In studying the creation, we are studying the creator. God has given us access to witness his glory manifested in thousands of ways.
4. Our minds need to glorify God.
We are commanded to glorify God in EVERYTHING we do. ” So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV) That “whatever you do” literally means exactly what it says: We MUST glorify God in everything we do. (Do you see Algebra in that verse? I promise you it’s there.) Now that does not give you a pass to say that if it’s impossible for you to glorify God in algebra, you need to cease and decease. (Trust me, I’ve tried that one; It doesn’t work) But rather it gives us an opportunity to enjoy all the good gifts that we have been given. We should feel God’s pleasure when we are studying math, or reading our History books.
5. We are commanded to love God with our minds.
“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29-30 ESV) There is no escaping what Jesus is telling us in this verse. We need to love God with our intelligence.
I am not intending to say that this is easy. In fact, I would hope this is an encouragement to any one who does struggle with enjoying school. It might be easier for some people. I truly believe that some people are just naturally better at math or science. But I also truly believe that God did not make any of his children stupid. Because of sin, we struggle. We will have hardships. Maybe Geometry is a hardship for you.
But what is not is ok is going through school with an attitude of discontentedness and complaint.
We are called to enjoy school.
I am not saying you have to love every subject. Or put on a fake persona of giddy happiness whenever you do school. But we are called to love the Lord through learning. That means being thankful for the opportunity we have been blessed with to learn about the world around us. Let people look at you and wonder why you enjoy doing hard things. And love the Lord with your mind.