February 12, 2012 – February 18, 2012
“Gird up the loins of your mind.” I Peter 1:13.
Study Help: Education, 123–134.
“Discipline and control the mental faculties.” Our High Calling, 219.
1 IMPARTING MENTAL VIGOR
- In this day of professed intellectual enlightenment, what timeless admonition is sorely needed? I Timothy 6:20, 21.
Note: “Human science is not divine enlightenment. Divine science is the demonstration of the Spirit of God, inspiring implicit faith in Him. The men of the world suppose this faith to be beneath the notice of their great and intelligent minds, something too low to give attention to; but here they make a great mistake. It is altogether too high for their human intelligence to reach.
“The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is itself true science, true intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is infinitely above the comprehension of the worldly wise. The hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory, is a wisdom high as heaven.” Our High Calling, 364.
- How does the Bible provide greater blessing than most realize? Isaiah 55:1–3.
Note: “As a means of intellectual training, the Bible is more effective than any other book, or all other books combined. The greatness of its themes, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the beauty of its imagery, quicken and uplift the thoughts as nothing else can. No other study can impart such mental power as does the effort to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind thus brought in contact with the thoughts of the Infinite cannot but expand and strengthen.” Education, 124.
2 WHAT ARE WE READING?
- What keen observation should make the scholar ponder? Ecclesiastes 12:12.
Note: “The Christian should possess more intelligence and keener discernment than the worldling. The study of God’s word is continually expanding the mind and strengthening the intellect. There is nothing that will so refine and elevate the character, and give vigor to every faculty, as the continual exercise of the mind to grasp and comprehend weighty and important truths.
“The human mind becomes dwarfed and enfeebled when dealing with commonplace matters only, never rising above the level of the things of time and sense to grasp the mysteries of the unseen. The understanding is gradually brought to the level of the subjects with which it is constantly familiar. The mind will contract its powers and lose its ability if it is not exercised to acquire additional knowledge and put to the stretch to comprehend the revelations of divine power in nature and in the Sacred Word.
“But an acquaintance with facts and theories, however important they may be in themselves, is of little real value unless put to a practical use. There is danger that those who have obtained their education principally from books will fail to realize that they are novices so far as experimental knowledge is concerned.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 545, 546.
- Where is the adequate source of knowledge in contrast with the inadequate source? Jeremiah 2:13.
Note: “It is acquaintance that awakens sympathy, and sympathy is the spring of effective ministry. To awaken in the children and youth sympathy and the spirit of sacrifice for the suffering millions in the ‘regions beyond’ [11 Corinthians 10:16], let them become acquainted with these lands and their peoples. In this line much might be accomplished in our schools. Instead of dwelling on the exploits of the Alexanders and Napoleons of history, let the pupils study the lives of such men as the apostle Paul and Martin Luther, as Moffat and Livingstone and Carey, and the present daily-unfolding history of missionary effort. Instead of burdening their memories with an array of names and theories that have no bearing upon their lives, and to which, once outside the schoolroom, they rarely give a thought, let them study all lands in the light of missionary effort and become acquainted with the peoples and their needs.” Education, 269.
3 THE PURPOSE OF INTELLECT
- What makes the true Christian distinct in this world? II Corinthians 4:18.
Note: “While the worldly wise is skimming along the surface, grasping the things of sight and sense, the one who fears and reveres God is reaching into eternity, penetrating the deepest recesses and gathering the knowledge and riches that are as enduring as eternity. …
“To walk the world a pure man of untarnished morals, bearing the sacred principles of truth in your heart, its influence seen in the acts of your life; to live uncorrupted by the baseness, falsity, and dishonesty of a world which must soon be purified of its moral corruption by the fires of God’s retributive justice, is to be a man whose record is immortalized in heaven, honored among the pure angels who weigh and appreciate moral worth. This is what it is to be a man of God.” Our High Calling, 80.
- What plain command comes to every receiver of present truth? Ezekiel 33:7–9.
Note: “So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word. [Ezekiel 33:7–9 quoted.]
“Are we to wait until the fulfillment of the prophecies of the end before we say anything concerning them? Of what value will our words be then? Shall we wait until God’s judgments fall upon the transgressor before we tell him how to avoid them? Where is our faith in the word of God? Must we see things foretold come to pass before we will believe what He has said? In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, showing us that the great day of the Lord is near at hand, ‘even at the doors’ [Matthew 24:33]. Let us read and understand before it is too late.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19, 20.
“It is not only by preaching the truth, not only by distributing literature, that we are to witness for God. Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity, and that a cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling. Not all the books written can serve the purpose of a holy life. Men will believe, not what the minister preaches, but what the church lives.” Ibid., 21.
4 A MIND FOR A MISSION
- Following his experience in Athens, why did the highly-educated apostle Paul change his evangelistic approach? Acts 17:15–17; 18:1; I Corinthians 2:2.
Note: “The apostle Paul had all the privileges of a Roman citizen. He was not behind in the Hebrew education; for he had learned at the feet of Gamaliel; but all this did not enable him to reach the highest standard. With all this scientific and literary education, he was, until Christ was revealed to him, in as complete darkness as are many at this time. Paul became fully conscious that to know Jesus Christ by an experimental knowledge was for his present and eternal good. He saw the necessity of reaching a high standard.
“It had been Paul’s custom to adopt an oratorical style in his preaching. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this in Athens, meeting eloquence with eloquence, philosophy with philosophy, and logic with logic; but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped for. His after-sight led him to understand that there was something needed above human wisdom. God taught him that something above the world’s wisdom must come to him. He must receive his power from a higher source. In order to convict and convert sinners, the Spirit of God must come into his work and sanctify every spiritual development. He must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.” The Review and Herald, July 18, 1899.
- Like Paul, what is the main assignment given to each of us? II Timothy 2:1, 2.
Note: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.
“The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.
5 DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND
- What should be the goal of all mental growth? I Peter 1:13–16; Ephesians 4:13.
Note: “He [God] wants you to have great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, and lofty purposes of action. …
“Is our earthly, temporal work done with a thoroughness, a fidelity, that will bear scrutiny? Are there those whom we have wronged who will testify against us in the day of God? If so, the record has passed up to heaven, and we shall meet it again. We are to work for the great Taskmaster’s eye, whether our painstaking efforts are seen and appreciated by men or not. No man, woman, nor child can acceptably serve God with neglectful, haphazard, sham work, whether it be secular or religious service. The true Christian will have an eye single to the glory of God in all things, encouraging his purposes and strengthening his principles with this thought, ‘I do this for Christ.’ ” Our High Calling, 369.
- What is the highest level that the human mind can achieve? II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:5–8.
Note: “Self-control is a power that all may possess. It is gained by placing the will wholly on the side of God, taking the will of God for your will.
“Christ … can and will, if we submit to Him, fill the chambers of the mind and the recesses of the soul with His Spirit. Then our will will be in perfect harmony with the Divine will. Our spirit and will may be so identified with His Spirit and will that in thought and aim we shall be one with Him.” Our High Calling, 219.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How does the human quest for progressive knowledge relate to the gospel?
2 Of what pitfalls do we need to beware in the “information age” of today?
3 What makes the true Christian peculiar in the sight of the world?
4 In what way is Paul’s growth in wisdom while in Corinth a lesson for us?
5 What is the highest education we can receive, and for what goal would it be?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.