Lesson: Success in School
How to do better in school? What are the principles
that we should follow?
Does God care to give me wisdom or help me in school?
This simple question is sometimes avoided by Christians
because they are afraid that their school grades won't improve, and thus
"proving" their lack of faith or something else. The answer is simple:
God wants to give you wisdom.
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to
all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
Reasons for God to give us wisdom
To get something from someone, it is often beneficial
to find out the reasons why we should get it and why the person wants to
give us the thing. There are a few main reasons:
To help accomplish God's works - Since He gave us things to do, He is responsible
for giving us some tools to work with. Wisdom is one such tool.
To prevent us from going astray and be deceived by others and the devil
- Our enemies are not stupid nor lazy, and we need to have the wisdom from
God to fight and overcome them.
To bring glory to God - When we act with wisdom and win the acclaims of
others, God is glorified (and rightly so). Imagine what others would
say if all Christian students get the worst grades in class.
Making the request to be based on right reasons
Knowing why God would want to give us wisdom, you can
ask Him with the right kind of mind set. Are you seeking wisdom for
your own glorification, power, fame, or wealth; or are you seeking wisdom
for the right reasons? We should ask for wisdom with the intention
to do the good things that God wants accomplished. Otherwise we will
be the ones getting hurt at the end. A good deed done with wrong
intentions will become corrupt, and eventually it will self-destruct.
Why God may not answer your request if you have the wrong reasons?
If God knows that after receiving the wisdom, you would
just go out for the money and turn away from God, should He give you the
wisdom in the first place? Wisdom is a good thing only when it is
used properly. German scientists designed magnificent killing weapons
that led to the death of millions of Jews. If you were the professor
of one of those scientists and you know that he would one day become the
designer of the gas chamber, would you teach him the principles of thermodynamics?
Of course, no one could have known it in advance, but God is omniscient.
But would God sometimes grant your request even
though it is not good for you? The answer is "yes" and the reason
may not be acceptable to many. A father who wants the kid to grow
up can not always take the toys out of his mouth every time the kid puts
a toy in his mouth. To teach the kid not to do that, he may just
allow him to taste the displeasing flavor of a Matchbox car and learn not
to do that again. Sometimes we are so stubborn and foolish that the
only way for us to learn is to taste the bitterness of our own stupidity
or foolishness. God wants us to grow up spiritually too, and painful
medicine is sometimes the best prescription for our little minds.
There are a few basic principles we can follow:
Ask God and believe - Jesus said God is willing to give good gifts to His
children (inferred from Luke 11:13).
Seek to do good things with the gifts - God is more than happy to provide
us with tools to accomplish His will, not just about His church but also
people's welfare in general. If this is the reason for your request,
would God refuse?
Put God first in your considerations - Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom
of God, and all [necessities of life] would be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
Solomon said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge
of the Holy One is understanding" (Prov. 9:10).
Do your part - God did not tell us to just sit back and wait for the heavenly
blessings to take care of everything. Once you do what you should
do, e.g., studying for a reasonable amount of time, then you have the right
to ask God for wisdom and help. My favorite verse about studying
says it all: The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory
rests with the Lord (Prov. 21:31). One philosopher's prayer said
it well: "Lord, give me strength and courage to do what I have to
do, give me patience and faith to receive from you what I cannot do, and
the wisdom to tell the difference between the two."
Solomon - King Solomon is called by the Bible as the wisest man ever lived.
God personally gave him wisdom after he made huge sacrifices (1Kings ch.
3). Yet it is not because of the sacrifices that God granted his
request. God gave him this priceless gift because he asked it so
he can govern the people (which God has entrusted to him) wisely and help
the country to live in peace and prosperity.
Daniel - Daniel served as the most important minister to six emperors of
two dynasties. God gave him great wisdom (and knowledge) because
he chose to obey God despite all odds (Daniel ch. 1-6). He put God
first, before his own life and career, and God rewarded him by giving him
wisdom and a position unthinkable for a conquered people. His position
and influence in the government also helped to improve the lives of the
Jesus - Jesus was full of wisdom of God, and he used it repeatedly to overcome
the tests of the Pharisees and lawyers. He set an example of how
wisdom can help us overcome our enemies' attacks.
So what does all these got to do with my schoolwork? What should
The basic principles mentioned above are enough as a
starting point. Furthermore, pray for wisdom and special understand
before you study. It's not cheating to ask God to guide your studies
so you can study the important things for the exam. And when you
choose your classes and commitments, remember to put God first. Also,
don't forget that God has put loving brothers and sisters who can help
you with your schoolwork, and their service is also a way by which God
1. Some people think that we should not work too hard in school because
the Bible says the worldly wisdom is nothing in the eyes of God.
Is this the right attitude?
2. Some people seem to be blessed with more wisdom than others.
Why is this so?
3. Am I not a good Christian just because I get not-so-superb
grades in school?
Additional Tips from 1/13/96's discussion
Caffeine causes (at least temporarily) memory loss, so if you need to memorize
something, avoid drinking drinks such as coffee, tea, Mountain Dew, and
Coke. Some "energy boosters" are high in caffeine, and so they should
be avoided. Caffeine is more appropriate if you are just writing
papers that do not require recollecting things (for instance, if you have
a detailed outline done and thus do not need too many other facts).
Vitamin B-complex helps reduce nervousness, so you should take such supplements
for the week before a major exam. It's good to have it anyway.
Fat tends to cause more tiredness than protein, so when cramming or right
before an exam, avoid fat and take protein snacks for energy.
Avoid getting freaked-out by: (1) not talking to other people about the
exam before the exam, (2) not cramming minutes before the exam (unless
you really, really need it), and (3) get to the exam location early.
This lesson was developed by George Huang. Got a question or
want to publish this lesson? E-mail
Last updated: 4/22/00