117. HOW IMPORTANT IS EARTHLY EDUCATION AND THE ABILITY TO SPEAK WELL, TO GOD’S AGENDA?
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
I heard something recently that did not sit right with me at all.
I usually ask the Lord to give me discernment and that he would help me not to just accept everything that is fed to me in terms of my spiritual life but only what is true. I therefore try to sift everything I hear with God’s authoritative Word, to determine whether it is a truth I should accept or a lie I should reject.
Now an error can come from even those that are Christians. We don’t always rightly divide the Word of God as we ought and at times, we can be wrong in the conclusions we have drawn. I have been wrong on occasions in the past as well and I don’t think there is any Christian that gets every thing right all of the time. Notwithstanding, if someone has arrived at a wrong conclusion and declares that on a pulpit or in any other forum, it does not mean that we must accept it as truth because of who the Preacher or Teacher is without searching the scriptures for ourselves.
We must be like the Bereans, who did not just accept everything they were told. They searched God’s Word for themselves to see if what was said was the truth before they swallowed it down. The Bible stated of them:
- “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Sometimes, before we even search the scriptures, our very spirit rejects what we just heard and we know, before we even disprove what we have heard through the Word, that it is not true.
So, based on what I heard, the question is:
Do Christians need to EDUCATE themselves according to the world’s system and be ABLE TO SPEAK WELL, in order for God to use them to impact their society and reach even those occupying high offices?
Although this seems logical according to the way that man thinks, the answer is a resounding NO.
Whereas God is not opposed to Christians gaining an education and nothing is wrong with a Christian obtaining one and wanting God to use it to bring him glory and that God can certainly choose to use it, it is not a prerequisite or a requirement to God using such a person or giving them access to people who hold high office in the land, to influence them in a positive manner.
God’s ways and thoughts are so contrary to man’s that he is even likely to use the person who has received no formal training, that has no education and that is not considered by the world as versed on matters, than a person who has spent years training and ‘educating’ himself for that purpose.
The true story of Gladys Aylward, the missionary that went to China, attests to this fact. I wrote about her in Article 111 entitled: ‘WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT OBEYING GOD’S CALL IN MINISTRY‘ but you can read about her story by doing a search online for her name.
God is more likely to use someone who does not consider himself or herself to be articulate or educated because when we are weak, then is he made strong. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Now Paul was very educated and very articulate and God chose to use him but to say that this is a requirement for all Christians hoping that God will use them to impact their society in a mighty way and to reach those who hold high positions is FALSE.
God can use anyone, whether they are educated or not. What he needs is someone sold out for him, obedient, humble and uncompromising and he is certainly able to operate through such a person, irrespective of what they have attained or have not attained in earthly accomplishments.
He used JOSEPH to speak to king Pharaoh and king Pharaoh was so impressed (because of the gift that God had placed in him to interpret dreams and to advise wisely), that he elevated him to second in command in all of Egypt, although we are never told that Joseph had any kind of education, whatsoever.
In fact, it does not seem likely that he did. When would he have had the time or opportunity, having been sold as a slave at the age of seventeen, then becoming a slave in Potiphar’s house and then spending years and years in prison? Yet, the Bible states that Joseph prospered, not because of any education he attained but because God was with him.
A person does not need to be able to speak well either for God to use them to reach officials at the top. He will put his words in their mouth when the opportunity arises.
He chose to use MOSES although he stuttered, to go tell king Pharaoh to let his people go. He could have easily chosen Aaron who was quite articulate. That is how we as human beings would think. Yet he did not.
In Exodus 4:10, Moses tried to get out of God’s commission for him to go back to Egypt and speak to Pharaoh, by telling him that he was not a very good speaker. In response, God reminded him that it was he (God) that had made man’s mouth and it was he that made those who were considered to be disabled. He repeated his instruction for him to go, telling him that he would be with his mouth and would teach him what to say. Exodus 4:10-11 reads:
- “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
Eventually, after Moses continued to try to find a way out of the task, the Lord permitted him to go to king Pharaoh with his well-spoken brother Aaron. (On a side note, this is an example of God’s perfect will versus his permissive will. It was his perfect will for Moses to go by himself and speak but he permitted Aaron to go with him).
God also put his words into the Prophet JEREMIAH‘s mouth and sent him forth to speak those words, even when Jeremiah thought he could not speak. God did this because irrespective of what Jeremiah thought about himself and of his inabiliy, God had ordained him to fulfill that purpose from his mother’s womb.
In Jeremiah 1:4-10, it reads:
- “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
In Matthew 10:17-20, Jesus sent forth his disciples, telling them that they would be brought before governors and kings, not as a result of any ‘education’ they acquired (Peter, a mere fisherman did not even have any) but for Jesus’ sake. He assured them that they need not meditate on what words they would use when brought before these high people, as he would give them the words, through his power, in that very moment.
Jesus told them:
- “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. FOR IT I NOT YE THAT SPEAK, BUT THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER WHICH SPEAKETH IN YOU. “
This underscores the importance of the Holy Spirit. It is He that makes the difference and it is He that enables even the uneducated and non-articulate commoner to go before men that are highly esteemed upon earth and to speak wisely, POWERFULLY and according to truth, in their presence. All God needs for a person to be eligible to be used in sch a way therefore is not a person’s secular education or his oratory finesse but that he be SPIRIT-FILLED. God is not limited in terms of how far he would have his children go and who he would have them reach because he is able to propel them, not according to how much they have ‘educated’ themselves or how knowledgeable they are on earthly matters or by how well they are able to speak but by HIS Spirit.
He is able to use the educated and the uneducated, the one that is good with words and the one that is not good with words. His Word says that it is not by might, nor is it by power but by HIS Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
It is also important to note that there is no record of JOHN THE BAPTIST gaining any qualifications or educating himself according to the world’s system, yet God used him mightily and he even gained audience with king Herod, not because of his education or because of his great speech but because the POWER of God was operating through him and he had created and called him for that very purpose.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt therefore, all that is necessary for a Christian to be used mightily by God to influence any society and anyone in society (be it a beggar or the President) is for that Christian to spend time, not educating himself on earthly matters and ways of doing things but meditating on God’s Word and applying it to his life. Such a person, God can use mightily and will be more inclined to use, than someone who has obtained a string of Degrees or considers himself knowledgeable on the world’s affairs and therefore, entitled (in his pride) as a prime candidate to be used by God.
What is consistent throughout the Bible and still stands true today is that those who were given opportunities to reach people of high standing in society with the gospel and to influence their conduct, did not aspire to do same, nor did they place themselves in positions to achieve this purpose. The moral of the lesson is that our desire should not be to be used by God to reach people in high places but to be used by God, period. If we desire to be used by him wherever he would choose to use us, then HE will work out his purpose for our lives as HE sees fit. He will send us wherever he sees fit and no calling is more important than the other.
All the men I spoke above about were called by God and sent to declare his Word to people in high places and they simply obeyed. It wasn’t a direction that they were pursuing after or specifically desired.
I mentioned that to say, that irrespective of how many Degrees a person has acquired, how well educated and knowledgeable he is and how well spoken, it would be foolish of him to venture into these territories because he feels he has earned it and should be used in this manner or because he is sufficiently versed in articulation and trusts himself to know what to say, if God never called him to go there in the first place.
It is the SPIRIT of God that makes the difference, not our earthly pieces of paper. God may be calling him to go speak to the homeless or the elderly that are lonely in Homes-for-the-Aged or to prisoners in prison. He may be calling him to speak to the very neighbours in his neighbourhood, not just with words but with how he lives and treats them.
If we think that these callings are any less important, then it points to the flawed way we think and we need to repent of our nonsense.
At the end of the day, we don’t get to pick where God will call us to operate and obtaining an education or being good with words does not guarantee that God will send us to speak to the ‘great’ and ‘noble’ and ‘high’ factions of society.
A man need not have any education either for God to want to place him in a position of authority in the Church, although many Churches wrongly regard education and a string of earthly qualifications, as a precursor to becoming for example, a Pastor, which is a spiritual position.
That is man’s way of thinking, not the Lord’s. God does not think like man. It is man that puts emphasis on acquiring an education, not God.
Once again, I reiterate, that nothing is wrong with acquiring an education but you don’t need an education in secular matters and/or theology, in order to understand the Word of God or to expound it mightily or for a man to be used in an authoritative position by God in the Church. All you need is the SPIRIT of God. Any teaching to the contrary promotes humanism, which is NOT of God.
In 1 John 2:27, it states and this is applicable to all Christians:
- “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
The things of the Spirit of God are not educationally discerned but SPIRITUALLY discerned. That is, we don’t need secular education or earthly knowledge to rightly divide the Word of God. We need his Holy Spirit. This is why, as I’ve said in one of my quotes, some people who are highly educated and occupy pulpits and platforms but are unregenerate, wrongly interpret God’s Word.
In my quote, I wrote:
- “It is the Spirit of truth that guides us into truth, not our intellect. We ought not to be so surprised therefore, when men who are seemingly so intellectual, articulate and popularly respected, promote such blatantly false doctrinal interpretations of God’s Word. Such men do not have the Spirit of truth indwelling them and are therefore bound to present false teaching, even when they believe it to be right.”
John 16:13 states: “When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.”
1 Corinthians 2:14 reminds us that ”…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Finally, I think I have heard it stated somewhere before, that the Bible says we should study to show ourselves approved of God. Believe it or not, people have used this in support of their argument, that God expects Christians to obtain an education.
This is a blatant misuse of the scripture. That verse in its entirety was clearly referring to the study of God’s Word and spiritual truths and not secular, man-made, human earthly education.
The verse reads: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
If there is any education that God needs us to have therefore, in order to use us to reach those in high places, it is our educating ourselves in his Word, the Bible and being taught, not necessarily by man but by his Holy Spirit. Any teaching from any pulpit or platform, on the need for Christians to obtain an education and to speak well before God can use them in certain spheres therefore is a man-made idea and not in keeping with God’s Word, which is superior to man’s earthly wisdom.
God places no obligation on his children to obtain an earthly education. He places an obligation on them to learn of him, to study or educate themselves in his Word, to preach the gospel in season and out of season and to live lives worthy of our calling in Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:29; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:1).
Wherever God wants his children to function, he (not an earthly education) will equip them accordingly, even if he has to put his words in their mouth. This as I have said before, does not mean that we must not study or that God cannot use what we have studied to further his Kingdom agenda. He can and sometimes he does. He doesn’t have to, though. The Spirit he has placed in his children is enough to get the job done.
Colossians 2:8 cautions us:
- “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are COMPLETE in him, which is the head of all principality and POWER.”
It is in Christ that all the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells, not in an education or in him plus education. Those that have the Spirit of Christ indwelling them are complete in him, not if they get an education or in him plus education.
Finally, I refer your attention to the following scriptures which confirm all that I just stated:
- “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by HIM, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:2-7)
- “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the POWER of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe…Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and GOD HATH CHOSEN THE WEAK THINGS of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And BASE THINGS of the world, and THINGS WHICH ARE DESPISED, HATH GOD CHOSEN, yea, and THINGS WHICH ARE NOT, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 18-21; 25-31)
- “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the SPIRIT and of POWER: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, BUT IN THE POWER OF GOD. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his SPIRIT: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, NOT IN THE WORDS WHICH MAN’S WISDOM TEACHETH, BUT WHICH THE HOLY GHOST TEACHETH; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-13)
- “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)
- “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the POWER. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in POWER.” (1 Corinthians 4:19-20)
(Written on 20th August, 2018; adjusted thereafter)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, interesting or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
Note 111 – ‘What I Have Learned About Obeying God’s Call In Ministry’