Being part of an elite group can be very attractive. The sense of belonging, being special & set apart appeals to our emotions & sense of significance. Sometimes there can seem to be some good reasons for being exclusive: excellence, comraderie, influence, achieving high goals, etc).
A problem, however, with being exclusive is that it becomes easy to allow the status of the group to influence the way we see ourselves. Sometimes we can think that being part of an exclusive group makes us elite or a cut above “other people.”
Another problem with being exclusive (religious, social, economic, fashion, athletic, etc) is that we can often remove ourselves from connecting with others who are not as elite, don’t achieve as highly, don’t dress in the same fashion, don’t had the same income bracket, aren’t as athletic, or don’t have a similar mental prowess.
The biggest problem with being exclusive is that such a mindset runs entirely contrary to how Jesus taught us to live. In John 13:14-15, Jesus models for us a servant mindset, ready to wash feet & lay down His life for others for the simple & revolutionary goal to express genuine love. Let’s always keep our sites on the end goal to love with a genuine heart & sincere expression!
I’m currently watching my friend’s daughter use a laser pointer for entertainment, with their cat chasing the laser. She shines the laser on the floor & the cat pounces on the red dot, only to find that the dot has leaped beyond his grasp to another spot on the floor. Looks like it could provide some amusement for at least several minutes.
Seems like the devil gets us in this game as well. He dangles something shiny in front of us, we pounce & find that the shiny bait evaporates to reappear somewhere else. We think that being pretty is the same thing as being significant. We think that being smart makes us valuable. We think that achievements or promotions make us important.
While our looks, intelligence & achievements are important, let’s remember that our value & significance is because Jesus loves us, full stop 🙂
I used to think it was impossible to be too smart. Now I don’t think this for a few reasons:
I’ve met people who think they’re “the smartest person in the room” and more often than not, such people are neither personable nor pleasant, despite being so smart
people often get smart in a particular field / topic at the expense of being “smart” in other areas, thereby creating imbalance, which is not so bueno: think Steve Jobs
being smart isn’t always the same as being wise
When we think about being smart, let’s keep the mindset that empowers us to always be learning and growing. Let’s posture our intelligence in humility and service more than superiority and supremacy. And let’s continuously acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom, a dramatic upgrade to just being smart 🙂
I’ve made some really dumb mistakes in my life – one of which was overvaluing intelligence. I think it’s almost humorous that I would say that because I’m still a massive advocate for education probably because I love to learn. Nevertheless, here are a few things that could be more important than being intelligent:
*character & integrity – people who are smart but lack character & integrity can be extremely dangerous!
*compassion – intelligence without compassion is very cold & sterile
*hard work – this seems pretty self evident
*forgiveness – when we don’t forgive, our world becomes increasingly smaller & smaller
These are just a few things I’m learning in my journey 🙂
When i was growing up, i always wanted to be smart. i’ve always had LOTS of respect for smart people, even brilliant people. If the truth be known, i have probably idolized brains & intelligence. I married a REALLY smart man & only now am i coming to realize how smart he is , mostly through my kids. Isabell & David are presently wrapping up their 2nd and 1st grade school years, respectively. As such, they’ve done some of those nationalized / standardized tests from time to time throughout the year & they’ve done really well. Now i know that my husband is UBER brainy because my kids intellectual achievements & apptitudes are WAY BEYOND my abilities. They didn’t get all these brains from me – they got their intellectual abilities from their dad. Now i’m not saying i’m stupid, but i’m also quite clear on my limits.
In the past, this discovery would have made me feel inferior & insecure. But today, i’m quite happy w knowing this & i don’t have any qualms with this reality and here are 2 reasons why:
i’ve let Jer 9:23-4 become a central premise for my life: let not the wise, nor wealthy nor strong man boast in his wisdom, wealth or strength. but let him who boasts, boasts that he knows Me. My pursuit to be smart when i was younger has morphed into the desire & pursuit to know God. This principle has become the guiding foundation for me & my daily living.
Brains is not equal to good; intelligence, moral values and genuine “good” are not all the same thing. i know super brainy people who have been deeply wounded through life and consequently, while they’re still brainy, they’re also very hurtful because of the deep hurt in their hearts. While my kids may be uber smart, i pray that they would know Jesus’ love & have a deep & richly satisfying relationship w Jesus. Brains without compassion, a moral compass or love can be nothing more than accessorized pain & even tyranny.
Its good to be smart, but its even better to live in the pursuit of a deep & vivacious relationship w God