Voices: The illogic of life, light and love

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As an educator, the thought of being illogical is somewhat revolutionary to me. I have spent my professional life trying to live by facts and to support those facts with additional knowledge. In a similar manner, my personal life has been characterized and formed on the basis of what seemed sensible and logical—facts I’ve learned, books I’ve read and conclusions I’ve drawn.

However, this week God spoke these words to my spirit: “I cannot inherit what he has for me through logic. He will birth a dream in me and fulfill it.”

In contrasting logic with life, light and love, I am contrasting what could be stiff, rigid and unbending to what gives freedom and life. I also am contrasting what is worldly and biblically unsound to living words of faith according to biblical logic.

A greater contrast is seen in John 10:10 (Amplified Bible): “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

The logic of Jesus’s life

“Jesus said to [Martha]: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’” (John 11:25 NIV).

So, what is life? Jesus is life. He is the perfect example of how we are to live, move and be in this world. Believing in Jesus requires what is illogical to this world—a dying to self.

I have found on those occasions when I “die to self” or deny my own desires, I gain a better understanding of and insight into the life Jesus has for me. I receive a life-giving word.

As educators, isn’t that what we want for our students—life-giving words with the power to transform logic into meaning?

The logic of Jesus’s light

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12 NIV).

I am grateful during dark times that Jesus is the light of my life. Jesus didn’t say I would not have dark times, but that I would not walk in darkness because I have the light of Jesus inside of me, guiding and directing me as I seek him.

As educators, we go beyond logic to recognize the light inside of us is what points our students to the light. In this light, students will find meaning for themselves because we have directly or indirectly shared with them the light in us—Jesus.

In teaching our students, the light oftentimes is a genuine smile of admiration. It is a pat on the back in recognition of their accomplishments, an eye-to-eye look that says, “I care,” a showing up every day with their future on our minds, a gentle nudging toward things that are right and good.

The logic of Jesus’s love

Jesus’s exemplary life and life-giving light are highlighted by the love he has for us.

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

It was not logic that took our Savior to the cross and kept him on it. It was a love most of us still are trying to comprehend.

For most educators, it is love for students and their highest potential that compels us to heed the call to education and to stay there.

The strange logic of Scripture

It was somewhat strange to sense God saying, “It will not happen through logic,” even though the idea is scriptural.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV).

Logic has its place in the enterprise of teaching and learning, but if we are to arrive at higher-order thinking—especially in a realm formed on facts and figures—logic should not exceed life, light and love. Instead, life, light and love should be the vehicle by which logic is carried forth.

To focus our work on life, light and love means for us to consider the one we ultimately aim to please—Jesus—in all we do. As educators, we can carry the message of life, light and love into our classrooms, school buildings and district offices. As educators, we can ask ourselves, “Where is Jesus in this lesson we are teaching?”

My hope and prayer are that we all realize God will come in life-giving ways to us. His ways may not and often will not be logical to our worldly and finite minds, yet his desire for our lives and his dream for our futures are good. They are what I want.

Do you want his desire for your life and dream for your future? If so, be open to the illogical.

Lisa M. Rainey, Ph.D., is an experienced educator. She and her husband, Daniel, are members of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas.

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