It is that time of year when students are wrapping up their spring courses. In my case, I’m finishing up three statistics and one research course. When thinking over what I’ve learned, I’m amazed to discover I not only learned a lot about math, but I got to delve deeper into the intersection of faith and learning.
Together, these courses required several written assignments that considered how faith and education connect. Since completing these assignments, I have continued dwelling on this topic more than usual. Here are a few thoughts about how we can glorify God in our studies.
Work as Unto the Lord
One way to glorify God in our studies is pressing through and working as unto the Lord. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” There are many unknowns while in school and a lot of hours are spent researching, reading, and getting to know the professor’s expectations. This can be tiring when combined with the responsibilities of everyday life. However, we honor God when we press through and work with diligence. Sometimes “working heartily” does not result in a perfect grade, but God is still glorified in our efforts.
All Truth is God’s Truth
Academic research or a student paper does not have to be “Christian” to honor God, it just needs to be true because all truth is God’s truth. We represent God well when we demonstrate heaven on earth. One way to do that is by bringing chaos into order, because that is what our Heavenly Father does. Westminster Assembly states that God wants us to know him and use the intelligence he blessed us with. This is true. God has given us the gift of intelligence, and it glorifies Him when we use our intelligence to foster truth. Conducting research can reveal more about God’s design for his world and his people. Constructing a well-written paper demonstrates order in a world that is in a fallen condition. As a bonus, organizing sources and delivering a well-written paper or discussion board blesses your instructors more than you know (speaking from four years of experience teaching at a university).
Herald God’s Kingdom to Come
The Bible makes it clear that Christians are called to herald God’s kingdom by living with Christ-like character. This mission can be aided through textbooks, lecture notes, and academic journals that shed light on how to help and minister to people in our broken world. For example, consider teacher burnout. All the care and effort scholars have put into this topic speaks of wanting good things for our teachers. As a result, people better understand how to provide for their needs and show them love. Caring for others through our academic work speaks of heaven on earth. It heralds God’s kingdom to come.
The Gospel and Academia
In all of these ways, academia glorifies God and benefits our Christian mission. As Christians, we live in the “already, but not yet.” We know God wins the final battle and all will be restored, but we are still living in a broken, sin-filled world. This gives us the opportunity to make a difference for the Kingdom of God before His return. So the next time a school assignment is due, be encouraged. We portray God when we work diligently, create organized and true arguments in all scholastic fields, and find ways to love and care for others.
All Bible verses taken from the ESV.