Class 26: The Obstacles to Getting a Good Education / Graduating from College and Still Ignorant and Unlearned (Part 1)
Today, we are beginning a study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Obstacles To Getting A Good Education” and “Graduating From College And Still Ignorant and Unlearned”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Earl G. Graves: “Education is the primary tool of emancipation and liberation for African-Americans in our fight for true equality in this country.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
At this writing, I am on the steps of the Coleman Library on the campus of Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida. I will be speaking in a couple of churches in the area on Sunday.
Frankly, I wish I had someone to write me like this when I was your age.
Now, on this important matter of getting a good college education: you will have some obstacles, to say the least.
The first obstacle that you will face is yourself. Why? Because the process of truly learning is laborious, monotonous, and at times downright bitter and boring. Therefore, obtaining a truly higher education will require of you a determined mind and a will to stick and stay. In short, it will take discipline. But in the end, it will be worth it all.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
At the completion of our last lesson you may be saying, “Well, all that education stuff is real easy to say, but you have no idea how impossible it would be for me to actually go to college.” Perhaps, no one in your family has ever been to college. Maybe some of your siblings or relatives have gone, and they did so well that you were left feeling less than confident in your ability to accomplish the same. No matter how many excuses for not attaining more education may race through your head, graduating from high school and college is a possibility. For, “if God be for us, who can be against us?” Let us look together at several of the obstacles you may encounter while attempting to increase your knowledge:
The first obstacle that you will face is yourself. Obtaining a higher education will require of you a made up mind and a will to stick and stay. In short, it will take discipline.
Check It Out: Read the following verses and note what they say concerning self-discipline:
1. Second Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
If you are a Christian, God, through His Holy Spirit, has already given you the ability to be self-disciplined. The real question lies in whether or not you are utilizing this gift. You literally have the power to decide today that you will do all that it takes to complete high school, college, and maybe even higher education and actually accomplish this goal. Self-discipline is difficult in a world of so many distractions, but it is by no means impossible. Allow God to use you to your full potential.
2. Hebrews 12:1: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Just as a world-class athlete must train tirelessly in order to beat the competition and win the prize, we as Christians must never stop striving for Christlikeness. Similarly, the result of a believer’s disciplined life is overcoming the true competition, the devil, and attaining the greatest prize of all, a crown in Heaven. The Christian is to make the very most of the talents, skills, and abilities God has blessed him with, and thus increasing his knowledge is a godly act.
3. Philippians 3:12-14: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
For the Apostle Paul, living the Christian life was not easy. But he had a goal to reach — becoming more like Christ — and every day, he disciplined himself to reach that goal. He was always pursuing and ‘reaching forward’ to what he had to obtain. He even had to leave some things behind as he pressed toward his goal. If you are going to obtain a great education, you will have to leave some things behind — either permanently or temporarily — and you will have to discipline yourself daily to reach your educational goals.
Now, Just Do It.
To complete today’s lesson, I encourage you to spend some time researching colleges in your area or colleges that you can attend online. Begin to make yourself familiar with the different options that are available, and begin to brainstorm what your talents and skills seem to be.
If you are already attending a university, examine your attitude toward learning. Are you using this God-ordained time in your life responsibly? Is God receiving the glory in your studies and in your relationships with your classmates and teachers? If not, pray for forgiveness and choose to change your attitude toward learning. If so, pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for blessing you with this amazing opportunity of receiving higher education.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.