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Do better in school

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

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Do you want to do better? To know that you can do your work, feel good about your performance, get better grades? You can. Someone once said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48, New International Version). Actually, that's a command Jesus gave to the people he was talking to 2,000 years ago. But it's also a promise for you and me today. Doing well in school has to be natural for you - because God made you, in fact, perfect. Let's think about two other Bible statements. God made us in His "image" and "likeness," and also God gave us "dominion" (Gen. 1:26, 27). Now, since you're made this way, you have to be intelligent and have good understanding. Having "dominion" means that you can do what you need to do. School is where you're supposed to be right now, and having dominion from God means that you really can do well - learn and grow and feel successful. Even if things haven't gone so well up to now. Because you are, like God, perfect, you really have to be complete. Even though it seems that you're dependent on the brain, good thoughts really come totally from God. You don't get some thoughts from your material brain and then some from God. God is Mind, and you express God. So, being intelligent is natural. It doesn't matter about an IQ score or the result of some test. God can also be called Spirit. Then it's easier to understand this: "... man is not material; he is spiritual" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 468). (The word man here means male and female.) If you haven't been doing well in school so far, you can see yourself differently, in the way we've been talking about here. That might be tough when you get to thinking, "I'm not very smart" or "I'm not good at reading long books" or "I don't know how to do those math problems." But if these thoughts come, STOP! Instead, think of yourself the way God would. God might say something like this: "I made you. You're perfect, like I am. I give you all your thoughts, and they're intelligent, creative, accurate thoughts. You're not doing anything all alone; you're always with Me. Don't be afraid." Something else to think about: you can pray like this every day, and it will make a difference! Think about how God made you. Remember that right where you are, God is being, doing, knowing - and what you're doing is expressing Him. You can trust God to show you your perfection. You can pray by being grateful that you really are OK, even if you don't see much of your perfection right now. And you can live your prayers. That includes doing homework, studying for tests, and being responsible about schoolwork. And it also can include playing sports, having fun with friends, and other things you like to do. If something is tough in school, you can even stop right then and pray quietly. How? Just listen for God to show you - give you ideas on - how to do an assignment or think through a math problem. Maybe you'll be interested in what happened to a friend of mine. When he started going to one school, he failed one course and got low grades in the others. He took an aptitude test (which is supposed to tell about your ability to do schoolwork). And his teacher told him he shouldn't expect to do any better in school, because he wasn't that smart. But my friend studied the Bible and prayed. He learned that intelligence comes from God, not from brains. God was not limited, and he began to see that because of that, he couldn't be limited. Soon his grades got better and better. Later he went to graduate school and got excellent grades. He says he learned from all this that it was important for him to think the right thoughts about who he was. Wanting to do well in school is a good, honest goal. And with God's help, you can do it! If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (Contemporary English Version)


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