Last week I shared how the purpose of education must be seen in relation to God’s highest purpose for man. Since God’s purpose for man is for man to glorify God, education must guide them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes (character) that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say and/or do. To accomplish this requires several goals be set for the education of our children and youth.
The first goal of education must lead people to true worship of God. Unfortunately, many Christians do not understand what worship is all about. Worship has too often been relegated to the portion of a church service where corporate singing takes place. It is true that singing praises to God is an act of worship but it isn’t the essence of true worship of God.
Consider the dialog that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well.
God is seeking “true worshippers.” This type of worshipper is one who worships God in “spirit and in truth.” True worship of God involves both the heart and the mind. It is not simply a matter of the heart but it also engages the mind. This means that worship is both an attitude and an act.
The object of one’s worship is also very important. For Christians, the object of our worship must be God, Himself. We are to worship God and Him alone. It is important to understand that according to Hebrew thought the human being was an indivisible totality. There was no compartmentalization of life into the secular and sacred, which was the thinking of the Greeks. This means that one was to worship God with his/her intellect, emotions, personality, senses and physical body. Therefore, even work and play became a part of one’s worship of God.
Piper states that worship is a full-life response to who God is and what He has done. Another writer puts it this way.
Worship is to honor God with extravagant love and extreme submission.
The goal of the education we give our children and youth must lead them to become “true worshippers” of God. This is to take place throughout the entire educational process — at home, church and school. It must lead them into a deeper knowledge of who God is which will, in turn, lead them to fulfill their purpose of glorifying Him in all that they think, say and do.
Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1 tell us that the very nature and character of God can be seen and understood by what He made (God’s creation). Every academic subject is derived from some aspect of creation. The study of any and every subject should cause the learner to better understand and appreciate the character and work of God.
When God spoke the world into existence, He actually expressed who He is. Creation testifies to God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). The study of the various sciences should “shout out” the very existence of God. I pursued a biology major and chemistry minor in my undergraduate work. The more complex these areas of study became the more amazed I was by the complexity and detail of the universe that an omnipotent and omniscient God literally spoke into existence (Genesis 1).
The study of human history, when it is taught through the biblical worldview lens, leads the learner to worship God in a greater way. This is because one sees the eternal, only wise King (1 Timothy 1:17) orchestrating the rise and fall of nations in order to accomplish His purposes for His glory.
This is also true in the fields of art, music and literature. As students delve into these areas of study, they should develop a mind to know and worship the true God who is full of beauty (Psalm 27:4). These areas of education should cause every person to understand the beauty and creativity of God. In turn, it should cause them to praise God in a deeper way because they will come to realize that He has gifted men and women with creative ability because all people have been created in His image.
The reality is that all education will lead a student to be a worshipper. The question is what will he/she worship? Will it be money, power, possessions, appearance, prestige, athletics etc.? Or will it lead them to be “true worshippers” who worship God in spirit and in truth? This will only happen if parents, church leaders and educators set this as an important goal for the education they provide for future generations.