Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Jesus “increased”—the word means “to be brought forward, lengthened out by hammering as a smith forges metal; to advance; to make progress.” As we might state it today, He was stretched in four main areas of his life as a young man: wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with man. He was obviously a young man of integrity, a person of impeccable character.
These four areas in students’ lives might be thought of this way: academically, physically, spiritually, and socially. Specifically addressing these areas in our students’ lives here at school can be challenging but very rewarding as well. Let’s take a look . . .
Academic integrity. Our students are taught that there is a moral component to academic work. Attaining knowledge for the purpose of becoming a wiser Christian happens when students study to show themselves “approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15). Whether it be doing homework, taking tests, writing papers, or completing projects, students are encouraged to do their own work and avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism, dishonesty, and cheating.
Physical vitality. So, how did you like gym class when you were in school? Physical education class seems to be a polarizing topic, but let’s not forget what the verse says: Jesus increased in stature. Physical education, fitness, and sports affect every student in some way here at the academy. Principles of nutrition, sportsmanship, and self-discipline (I Cor. 6:19–20) all have a biblical, moral tone that we are responsible to embrace. Sowing and reaping, honesty, effort, humility, and accountability all play a part in molding a student’s stature for God’s glory.
Spiritual maturity. As the forger hammers metal and stretches it according to his desired intent, opportunities abound for students to be “stretched” spiritually and to become more like Jesus Christ. Biblical integrity starts with a heart (mind) that is constantly being filled with the refining fire of God’s Word. Practicing “favour with God” creates an atmosphere of embracing God’s truth and rejecting rebellion and scorn. Students confront the common temptations of this life with the power of Scripture, applicable in every area of academy life—classes, extra-curricular activities, organizations, and sports.
Social stability. Jesus lived an honorable, principled life before others. There were those who did not enjoy being around Him because His life was a rebuke to their way of life. There were those who were simply fascinated and curious about Him; consequently, they followed Him around but rejected His doctrine. Then there were those who followed Him because they believed in Him and wanted to be like Him. Probably the highest compliment paid to Peter and John was that even the Sanhedrin could tell that “they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Likewise, there is no better way for our students to be socially identified than as those who have been with Jesus.
Challenging students to exercise integrity requires a combination of proper moral instruction and being “an example of the believers” (1 Tim. 4:12) that they observe every day. Students who practice Jesus’s example of integrity will certainly be stretched and shaped into His image and for His glory.
Bob Jones Academy exists to assist like-minded Christian parents in challenging students to love Jesus Christ, to embrace God’s truth, to exercise integrity, to pursue excellence, and to serve others.