In the last couple of weeks all of you have probably accumulated a list of school supplies. I always thought that was an exciting time — getting brand new tools for a new year in a new classroom with a new teacher and new friends. I have collected some items here that you also may have collected for school this year.
(1) three-ring binder
Everyone needs a notebook of some sort. The 3-ring binder is the most popular. Notice the three rings which hold the paper in place. If we drew them like this (illustrate), it would be a symbol for God or the Holy Trinity. Our one great God is made up of three eternal parts: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.
(2) clean, fresh paper
The clean, white paper reminds me of God’s holiness. There is not one speck of dirt or sin on His character. He is full of truth. He never told a lie. He is full of wisdom. He never makes a mistake. He is full of goodness. He never does anything He is sorry for later. He never has to apologize and say, “I was wrong.” He is the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth, yet He is never proud or arrogant, but is compassionate and considerate of the lowly and weak.
In the Old Testament the prophet Isaiah wrote about an experience he had. God revealed Himself to Isaiah. Isaiah saw Him sitting on His throne in heaven, surrounded by angels, and the angels were shouting, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
We use a ruler to measure things. We can never measure up to the holiness of God. He is so far beyond us, it is like our trying to measure thousands of miles across the ocean with this little 12-inch ruler. When Isaiah saw the most Holy God, his response was, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5) He didn’t mean that he had pizza sauce or jelly on his mouth. He meant that his speech was sinful because his heart was sinful — and all the people on earth are like him. We say unkind words to others because our hearts are full of hatred and anger. We brag about ourselves because our hearts are full of pride. We sass our parents because our hearts are full of rebellion. We say bad things about others because our hearts are full of selfishness.
We also use a ruler as a straight edge to help us draw a straight line. Without a straight edge, our line would be wavy and inexact. God is perfectly straight in all His ways. His law is what we compare our behavior to — and find that we are crooked in comparison to His holiness.
We can’t go to school without a pencil! That is what we use to write down everything. God is writing a book in heaven. Every day He is keeping track of the things we do — good and bad. Most importantly, He has a Book of Life in which He records the names of those who have believed on His Son, Jesus Christ, and have followed Him. They are the only ones who will be permitted to enter heaven to live forever in God’s presence. Revelation 21:27 says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” You might think of it as God’s big grade book. However, no one can impress God with their grades. No one can meet His holy expectations. Every student would get an F for failure. However, if we accept Jesus’ holiness as a substitute for our sin, God turns that F into an A+ for approval. God is pleased with everything Jesus accomplished in His death for our sins.
(5) red pencil
A teacher’s red correction pencil or pen is important for grading papers. God corrects us too. He points out by His Holy Spirit the things that are wrong in our lives. If we pay attention to His corrections, we can learn from our mistakes and grow closer to righteousness in our words and deeds.
A calculator is good for checking our answers on math problems. I may think that 2 + 2 is 5. Let’s check that. Nope. The calculator says it is 4. No matter how many times I check and recheck my answer, it is never going to be 5. It will always be 4. God’s Word is perfect. It never changes. I may sincerely believe something else, but if I fail to check it by GodÕs Word, I may be sincerely wrong! God’s Word will always tell me the truth. Psalm 119 says God’s righteousness is everlasting and His law is true. His statutes are forever right. He established them to last forever.
The eraser is a wonderful item. If I spell a word wrong or write down the wrong answer, I can get rid of the mistake and change it to what is right. God erases our sins with the blood of Jesus. He totally does away with our sins (Psalm 103:12) and empowers us to do good through His Spirit!
“Cut it out!” Has anyone ever told you that? Were you misbehaving or getting on their nerves? Sometimes we know we should not do something, but we can’t seem to help ourselves. We just keep on doing it. God enables us to “cut it out” or rid ourselves of bad habits and sinful practices. “…rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians3:8-10)
Crayons are probably my favorite back-to-school tool. I just love the smell of a new box of crayons. I love the rainbow of colors and the crisp lines I can draw with their sharp points! I love the possibilities of all the beautiful things I can create with them. God gives us beautiful possibilities in life when we follow Him. He offers freedom, peace, joy, love, and boundless spiritual blessings. This is the direct opposite of the dirty, dull disappointment that sin brings. Satan tries to make sin look appealing, but the beauty of sin is like watercolors or chalk that washes off in the rain. God promises a bright tomorrow with joys that will never fade.
And speaking of not fading, we need a waterproof marker to write our names on all these new things so no one else can accidentally pick them up and claim them as their own. God writes His name on us. He seals us so that Satan can never lay claim to us again. Not only does He write His name on us, but He writes our names on His hand! I used to write my lock combination on the palm of my hand so I could remember it. Our names are permanently tattooed on God’s hands (Isaiah 49:49:16) so He never, ever will forget us.
We are expected to be prepared when we go to school. Teachers have little patience with students who consistently show up without paper or pencils or other necessary supplies. School is very important, but eternity is much more important! We need to be prepared. Have you asked Jesus to be your own personal Savior, to erase your sins, and to give you new life? If not, get prepared. Do it today!
by Serena Cochran
Downloadable Back-to-School Kids’ Ministry Lessons from Children’s Ministry Today