The handicap of being smart
It’s hard for a smart man to enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s not directly stated in the Scriptures, but it’s true nevertheless.
We remember that Jesus said, “It’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” I have thought that “smarts” or intellectualism is equally as much of a hindrance as riches are to going to heaven.
The Gospel does not lend itself to pleasing the materialistic proclivities of man. Not to influence, not to nobility, not to strength, not to wealth, and not to intellectualism.
The Apostle Paul said, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” 1 Cor 1:26-29.
The devil enticed Eve with the promise of knowledge. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” Gen 3. Solomon warned about the trouble the reading of many books can bring. “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body” Eccl 12:12. Just as the lust of the flesh and eyes are a hindrance to spiritual goals, so the “pride of life” puffs up the fleshly mind which is hostile to God, 1 John 2:15f. John goes on to say that the one who would live forever is the one who humbly submits to God’s will. The “smart” often find this submission to God’s word particularly challenging.
“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” 1 John 2:17.
When someone puts a high premium on “being smart,” it sounds as wrong as saying, “These are rich guys, so why don’t they believe the Gospel?” “Smart”, the abundance of knowledge and human wisdom, has no correlation to becoming a believer, unless it is a reverse correlation: the smarter you are, the less likely you are to go to heaven. As being rich makes it harder to go to heaven, so being smart makes it harder. Remember what Paul said that not many noble, not many influential, not many wise we among the converts. Smart people walk away from Christ as much as any rich young ruler.
To become a Christian what is necessary is a typical or common intellect which is God’s design. The common mind, highly educated or not, has the perfect capability to grasp the glory of God in the Gospel.
So let us give little importance on money, looks, strength, or smarts. Instead look for the one with a humble and seeking spirit to be the one most likely to follow the Lord.