The Bible says that the goal of our instruction is: 1) love from a pure heart and 2) a good conscience and 3) a sincere faith (1 Tim. 1:5). Did you notice these three goals are all heart realities rather than mental information? Out of the heart flow the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). The Holy Spirit is released through our hearts!
It has been said, "Facts are silly things" until they are coupled with underlying principles. I agree, and yet transmitting facts has been the center of so much of our secular and religious education, and the result is the destruction of our creative capacity.
The Western Educational Process Kills Right-Brain Creativity
- At age 5, nearly all children rank high in creativity.
- At age 7, 10% rank high in creativity.
- At adulthood, 2% rank high in creativity.
Einstein said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
God our Creator desires His church to be the most creative entity in society. God gives us dreams, visions, inspiration, revelation and the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11) which grant us relationship with Him and release His wisdom and creativity and power through us. I certainly don't want to kill off this amazing capacity through secular or religious training that focuses on the head rather than the heart.
I want whole-brain learning plus God's revelation and emotions flowing freely in my heart. Kingdom emotions include joy, peace, compassion, gratitude, thankfulness and a merry heart. Each of these emotions releases kingdom blessings into our lives (Rom. 14:17; Matt. 14:14).
Training the Next Generation of Leaders
His voice lets me become the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, lend and not borrow (Deut. 14:1-14, NKJV). This is God's ordained role for His people. We will not arrive at this destination if the essence of our education is the transferring of facts. We must be cultivating intimate relationship and the release of His Spirit through us.
Storytelling surely contributes to this goal, as it engages both hemispheres of the brain, plus the emotions of the heart, and it nurtures faith, hope and love. So storytelling becomes central to Christian education. Remember, God wrote the Bible as a storybook. He did this on purpose.
A Story: When is a strong will a curse rather than a blessing?
A couple of weeks ago I was with my granddaughter in the swimming pool and I asked her if she knew the story of Paul on the Damascus Road. She did, and she was able to tell me the entire story. So then we explored the blessing and curse of having a strong will (which she does have). Paul's strong will was initially set to kill Christians, because his religious education had not included any place for revelation from God. It was simply facts, rules, man's interpretations of Scripture.
So God provided Paul a visionary encounter in which He reoriented Paul, causing his strong will to be set to build the church of Jesus Christ, rather than destroy it. So one's strong will can be a curse and bring calamity or it can be a blessing and bring strengthening, depending on if you have heard from God before you set your will.
She got it, and was able to repeat the entire story back to me a week later in the pool, with the understanding you never set your will before hearing from God. How valuable is this lesson for a strong-willed child? Since I had already taught her how to hear God's voice and see vision, she is now equipped to make her strong will a blessing and not a curse.
How do I let God fill my mind and my heart?
When I am learning, I research and ponder the issue before me, following God's lead. I am constantly asking, "Holy Spirit, anoint my reasoning. Give me the mind of Christ." I am relaxed, with a smile on my face, acknowledging that the "Helper," the Holy Spirit, is at my side (Acts 2:25; Ps. 16:8) giving me the victory. I tune to His river flowing within and I experience flowing thoughts guiding my reasoning process. Note that reasoning with God involves pictures (Isa. 1:18). Brilliant ideas light upon my mind; the Bible calls them words of knowledge and words of wisdom. I record them, speak them (prophesy), act upon them and bless the world with God's creativity. That is the way my mind is to be used.
When it comes to my heart, I use exactly the same process, and my heart experiences God's peace, joy, victory, thankfulness, compassion and gratitude. Discernment of spirits flows along with faith and the power to perform miracles. This is the way my heart is designed to be used.
I have purposed to only allow my heart and mind to be used in these ways.
The Goal of Christian Maturity
"And the Child [Jesus] grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2:40). "Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does" (John 5:19). "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). The church is hungry to experience spiritual reality. The Holy Spirit brings the increase of His government (Isa. 9:7). Are you hungry for more of the Spirit?
Lord, what do You want to speak to me concerning Christian education? Are there adjustments You want me to make?
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.
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