I am preparing to teach another lesson at our youth group. It is connected with the previous lesson of practical advice for college students. This lesson will help young people understand why it is important to study and be a good student. It seems that more and more people these days, especially young people, do not want to be good students. Studying is not in “style”. Instead, it is easier to watch television and movies or play around on the internet. In this article and with the lesson for the youth, I want to explain why we should be good students all the days of our lives.
I. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior as well as supreme example in life, was a student.
Some people use their “Christianity” as a holy excuse for not being good students. They say things like, “why should I worry about being a good student, God is in control of all things and everything is going to work out according to His plan, so why try?” There is a good Greek word for that statement and statements like it, “hogwash”. Jesus Christ, Himself, was a great student and He taught others to be as well (even simple fishermen with very little if any education). Let’s turn to the Evangelist, Luke, to see how Jesus was a good student.
41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast ; 43 and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey ; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. 46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. 48 When they saw Him, they were astonished ; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way ? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” 49 And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. 51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2)
Jesus was already a good student of the Bible by the time He was 12 years old. But, He did not stop there. Even though He was such a good student of the Bible that He could amaze the religious leaders with answers from the Bible at just 12 years old. He continued to increase in wisdom. In other words, He was a good student who continued to study in order to become a better student.
II. The foundation of Christianity is being a good student.
The same Jesus Christ who was a great student went on to form Christianity, which is based on discipleship. A disciple is a learner, a student, who spends his time studying and applying what he learns. If you claim to be a Christian then you claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, a learner or student. Jesus called the disciples to be discipled and then turn around and make more disciples.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
It is impossible to make disciples if you have not been a disciple (student) yourself. Where do you stand when it comes to studying and being a good student? Do you try to be the best student possible? If you do not like to study in school then how will you study the Bible? A good student of the Bible will be a good student in school.
III. As a student, you will be able to build relationships with other students.
A great student will be respected by his peers and sought after for help and advice in academic matters. This gives great students a unique opportunity when it comes to sharing the Gospel with other students. Students listen to other students so as a student, you have access to other students, which allows you to build relationships with them and share the Gospel. God is all about relationships. He wants us to have a relationship with Him and then, out of that relationship, build lasting relationships with others. The 10 commandments actually teach this principle.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God ; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day ; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house ; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
The first 4 commandments deal with our personal relationship with God. He is a relational God and wants us to know Him personally, the way that He already knows us. The final 6 commandments deal with our relationships with others, specifically, how we treat them. As a student, I have multiple opportunities to live out my faith among my fellow students, which will lead to relationships with them, opening doors for me to share the Gospel with them. As Paul teaches in his epistle to the church in Philippi, we are to use every circumstance and opportunity in life to share the good news of the Gospel with others. Being a student is one of those opportunities that God does not want us to miss. Do you see school as a prison that you have to endure or as a time of service to the Lord, a time when you can share your faith with your peers? Do not forget, most students are struggling with their lives and its meaning so they are sensible to the truths of the Gospel.
IV. A good education prepares you for life.
This life is full of choices and a good education will teach you how to make good choices, choices that will benefit you and the people around you. A good education will prepare you for a good job, which you will need in order to have a family. A good education will also teach you and enable you to serve your fellow man. Service is a key element to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Christ, Himself, did not come to be served but to serve the people around Him. He taught this same principle to His disciples and because of it, they changed the world in their lifetimes. A good education will help you choose a good job that will be of service to your fellow man, if you study to the highest of your abilities. If you become a public school teacher, you know have daily access to children, enabling you to bring them to Jesus Christ, just as He wants them to do.
14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Mark 10)
The Bible also teaches us to do everything at the highest possible level because what we do, we do for the Lord. If you will work hard and study hard then you will be able to serve God by serving your fellow man. Through service, you will open doors for the Gospel and have opportunities to share It with those whom you serve.
As you have seen, being a student is a lifetime plan if you are a child of God. Christians are not to avoid books and studying but instead, we are people of the Book. We should be the best students possible, both during our educational careers as well as throughout our lives. What kind of student are you? Are you an example the way that Jesus Christ was? Do you see your time in school as an open door for the Gospel? Do you consider yourself a student, even if your educational career is over? The way that you study the Bible will be seen in the type of student that you are. Would your classmates know that you are a Christian just by the way that you study, apply, and serve the people around you? May the Lord help us be great students of His Word no matter where we are in life or what age.