Most people expect to spend twelve years in school before they move on to higher education. This may involve another four to twelve years depending on the chosen occupation. A common question is, “When will you be done with school?” as though once schooling is done, education is complete. When we approach the subject this way, we fail to appreciate that the entirety of our lives is involved in education. Looking at education through a humanistic lens causes us to erroneously conclude that we have learned all we need to know. God’s Word tells us that our sanctification is a continual process whereby we grow in knowledge, wisdom, and discernment.
R. J. Rushdoony points out:
Education involves, in the truest sense, a reshaping of our lives, and to reshape body and soul is a painful process. Thus, while man tries to make education harmless and ineffective, God frankly deals with us and with all the rigorous honesty that education requires.
God knows, certainly, that we are lazy people, and that much of our activity is lazy activity, the purpose of which is to run away from life’s more basic demands of us. Left to ourselves, we are inclined to take God and His Word casually and comfortably. We readily weaken the force of all His requirements and insist that God’s will for us must be a cushioned call and a preferential rating.
The comfortable ride we all prefer is not part of God’s plan. God’s method is to sift us as wheat, a process that can hardly be considered pleasant.
The sifting of wheat is a strenuous process; the sifting of men is far more rigorous. It involves a shaking of their innermost being, the opening of their lives by fear and dread, and a total helplessness as they feel the power of Satan surround them. But we can never truly know and fear God until we have also known and feared Satan. Until the enormity and power of evil and sin become vivid and real to us, we are not ready to cast away our self-sufficiency and to throw ourselves into the hand of God.
Instead of the false promises and expectations that tell us at some point we will be “done” with the educational process, we must embrace the reality that God’s educational process involves trials and tests on a daily basis. Maybe we should replace our “have a nice day” refrain with something more akin to the real situations we are likely to encounter. Perhaps we could better spur each other on by saying, “I pray you are victorious in the challenges you will face today!”
Wanting the easy way is something that we can readily see manifested in children. But as Rushdoony points out,
We fail to recognize that we are only grown up children, and the worst babies are adults. We are too often sorry babies who refuse to be men while insisting that God treat us like angels. Before we are weaned and can walk, we make our demand for wings, and, gaining nothing, begin to doubt the wisdom of God. The more readily we receive the education, the more readily we assume the responsibility and privilege that goes with it…
If we fail to receive God’s educational process with peace, patience, and consecration, then the “root of bitterness” grows up in us to contaminate everything in and around us. We receive it therefore as God gives it, as grace and love, and having so received it, receive also the results of that gift, strength, joy, and victory in and through Jesus Christ.
Our acquisition of continuing education credits in the Lord, rather than resulting in a degree, gives us something eternal.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
1 R. J. Rushdoony, Good Morning, Friends (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon/Ross House Books, 2017), p.122.
2 ibid. p. 123.
3 ibid. p. 124.