The goal of Christian school students is to honor Christ by doing their best in school and in so doing prepare themselves to live a life that is pleasing to God. There are predictable patterns and habits of those students who are wise.
One: Wise students accept Christ as their personal Savior. Priority one in a Christian school is that students know Christ. As a former teacher and Christian school administrator, I have observed firsthand the “before and after difference” when students accept Christ. The spiritual transformation of a wholehearted conversion to Christ is often more pronounced in children and young people than it is in adults.
There is a positive change in their personality. They have a sense of hope and peace that settles them down inside. Arthur Schlesinger said, “Anxiety is the official emotion of our age.” When a student accepts Christ, there is a “deep settled peace” that transcends the anxiety and tension of our times. Thankfully, this tranquillity of soul often carries over into a student’s academic life. A student who is at peace on the inside can better apply himself to his studies.
Two: You have seen those bumper stickers that say, “As long as there are tests, there will be prayers in school.” That slogan is meant to be a spoof on the ban on prayer in the public schools. In Christian schools prayers are not a problem. In fact, we encourage them. Wise students will pray not only about tests in school but about the tests of everyday living. A wise student will be in constant prayer communication with God. I Thessalonians 5:16Ð18 tells us, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Being consistent in prayer is the key to a stable life accompanied by God’s blessing. It is good to r emind students of Judah’s King Uzziah, who was sixteen when he became king. The Bible says, “. . . as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (II Chronicles 26:5).
Three: It’s biblical to study! You recall the apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved unto God . . .” (II Timothy 2:15). A wise student will be serious about study. Being a good student requires work. Paul in that same verse describes a person who studies as “. . . a workman who needeth not to be ashamed.” In Proverbs (the book Solomon wrote for young people) are these words, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). Speaking of “idle chatter,” Solomon must have known that television was coming! Television is the world’s leading cause of wasted time.
Four: A wise student guards his heart. According to the Bible, emotions such as love, hate, joy, sorrow, peace, bitterness, courage, and fear emanate from the heart. The heart is the seat of our emotions and the very center of who we are. Solomon wrote, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We are told that 83% of the “hits” on the Internet go to three websites and all three websites are pornographic. Therefore, the most important duty of any student is to love God with the whole heart (Matthew 22:37) and to guard one’s heart from evil influences. A wise student will give his “seat of emotions,” his mind/heart, to Christ. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
Five: Wise students organize their time and set short-range and long-range goals. One can be exceptionally bright as a student but fail to establish the all-important patterns of organizing one’s time and setting reachable goals. Just how important is goal-setting? A study of Harvard alumni showed that ten years after graduation those with written goals earned ten times as much as those with no goals. Even those with unwritten but specific goals earned three times as much as those without goals. This is not to say money is the principal objective but to show the importance of goals, especially written ones, according to Kathi Hudson (Raising Kids God’s Way)
Six: A wise student will learn valuable lessons from his academic shortcomings. Wise students who are doing their best in school but struggle with low grades are sometimes learning lessons quite unknown to “straight A” students. I am referring to those valuable lessons one learns from failure. A student who struggles academically, yet perseveres at his maximum potential, may find himself in later life zooming past his “straight A” classmates who never learned those all-important lessons about how to cope with the normal setbacks and even failures in life. The ability to bounce back, regroup, and go on may prove to be the most useful lesson learned in school.
Seven: A wise student prays for wisdom and seeks the counsel of wise people. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly . . .” That is why Christian school education is so valuable. It gives students daily access to teachers whose counsel is based on God’s Word. We conclude with the profound words of wise King Solomon, who said, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:20,27). Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us your wisdom. Amen.
Dr. Paul A. Kienel is founder and president emeritus of the Association of Christian Schools International.