You’re in the middle of a sermon but your mind is somewhere else.
You’re thinking about the truckload of assignments waiting for you, or that exam tomorrow you haven’t studied for. You stand for the closing worship song, but instead of meditating on the lyrics – you’re waiting to rush home to hit the books.
I’m sure we’ve all been there. In this grades-driven nation, we’re used to the pressure of living up to the expectations of both our parents and ourselves. In fact, Singaporean youths today are more motivated in their studies than the global average.
That’s a good thing, but there’s a danger to it: Our academic pursuits so easily overshadow eternal things without us even realising it.
As someone whose identity has been tied to her grades for the longest time, I relate well to this struggle. Back in secondary school, I used to dread going to church whenever my exams were coming up. I studied my revision notes right under the nose of the preacher and would rush home as soon as service ended each week.
There are so many more urgent and important things to do.
That was one of the recurring thoughts in my head whenever I headed to church, did my devotionals or read the Bible. Though I knew they were wrong, why did they ring so true in my head?
How could anything be as important as devoting time spent to God and learning more about Him and His Word? How could I let the chase for grades overtake God’s place? My thought-life betrayed the condition of my heart.
Ever heard the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing?
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I realise how easily our hearts wander from him, how easily the things of this world can overtake God’s place in our hearts.
Desiring to excel in our studies is certainly something to be commended. We are all called to be good stewards of the resources God gives us. But in the case of time, is it all going into our studies? Are we neglecting to spend real quality time in Church or at home with our family?
““Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)
Being a student doesn’t exempt you from being salt and light in this world (Matthew 5:13-16). When we study for God’s glory – working in a spirit of excellence and exemplifying Christlike character – it is a testimony to our schoolmates and friends.
We must know our priorities. While it’s important to be good students, our personal walk with Him is infinitely more important. We have little issue setting aside time for the things we enjoy doing, or the people we hold dear … But is it the same for God?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Make time for what’s important.
I’ve made it a point to do my devotionals as soon as I’m up from bed. Whenever I feel lethargic, I do my devotion at another time in the day when I’m fresher to concentrate better.
I’ve also developed the habit of using my trusty planner to note down important deadlines. I plan my time properly to spare myself the temptation of skipping Church.
It’s never easy to put God above our worldly priorities. Sometimes, even if we truly desire to pursue Him, our fallen human nature causes us to stray from Him. How we need the Holy Spirit to help us desire Him.