In our culture adrift on a storm-tossed sea of moral and spiritual confusion, our young people are looking for meaning and significance. Last year, a news report shocked many. A young pharmacist lost her life when she took drugs at a music festival. How could a person who has expert knowledge regarding the effects of drugs succumb to their usage? As teachers we are heart-broken when we hear of highly intelligent students who have achieved excellent exam results making unwise choices. Our students may learn about sex education but have they lost the capacity for true love?

Well, may they ask as TS Elliot did, “Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

Clearly the lack of wisdom is not at its heart intellectual but spiritual and moral. Someone once said “The longest journey is from the head to the heart.” Just providing students with knowledge and information about the consequences of choices, though necessary, does not address the needs of their hearts. The happiness that this generation sees as the goal of life is transcendent in origin and nature. St Augustine understood that all human longings are on a quest for God. In our fallenness these longings are disordered loves as we substitute created things for the Creator. The Bible calls this idolatry.

James KA Smith rightly notes that ordering human desire is essentially an issue of worship – “our ultimate love is what we worship.” [1] and this is rooted in an imagined picture of human flourishing that governs how we act, think, choose and love.

So how do we help our students walk in wisdom and rightly order their loves for things around the universal reign of God? The Lord Jesus – the Logos – embodied true wisdom. He lived in a relationship of perfect love and submission to the Heavenly Father. As his people, the goal of Christian education must be to assist our students to gain a biblical picture of human flourishing, rightly ordering their longings for significance, meaning, worship, pleasure and achievement around the universal reign of God.

Christian teachers are called to the noble task of helping students to live in two kingdoms, to be in God’s Kingdom, displaying God’s wisdom but without being of the world that is shaped by the Spirit of the Age.

When we embrace education to raise students who live wisely, we do so in the knowledge that we are not subservient to the dominant narrative of our culture, but as citizens of the Kingdom of God’s Beloved Son. By God’s grace, through our forgiveness and redemption, we have been set free to re-imagine our educational task.

• How do we help students to see the damage and brokenness of having ‘god-substitutes’ to centre their lives on? What are the idols of this age?

• How do we structure our teaching and learning in ways that will touch their hearts? Do we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of our students in specific ways?

Psalm 119: 103-104 – “ How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”

Grace and Peace

The Team

The Excellence Centre

[1] J Smith. Desiring the Kingdom