|The “Smarter Than You” Spirit|
|I’m one of those fortunate/unfortunate people who had the privilege/horror of attending graduate school as a brand-new, spirit-filled (in the traditional sense that I experienced an encounter with the Holy Spirit subsequent to my born-again experience and emerged speaking in tongues) Christian.|
Shortly thereafter I was accepted into a graduate-level program at a university. Little did I know that the campus was saturated in the “Smarter Than You” spirit. Or perhaps you know it as the dog-eat-dog spirit which can manifest in environments other than academia, but academia was the place I first recognized it.
Because I was very vocal about my beautiful God and completely lacking in wisdom, my classmates and some of my instructors made me a target to mock.
But the very thing they mocked turned into my shield because I didn’t care one bit if someone was smarter than me. I just wanted everyone—and I mean everyone—to know about my wonderful Jesus.
From this seat in heavenly places I was able to observe how desperately, and often viciously, the campus population competed for the prize of being the smartest. Now, the competition I watched was mostly confined to faculty and graduate students. The staff were viewed as peasants and, thus beneath notice, while the administrators were powerful but considered unimportant.
What did I learn? That the ones so desperately competing were deeply insecure about their value; that they were terrified of appearing stupid; that they were willing to do “whatever it takes” to hide their vulnerability even if it meant partnering with a predator spirit that devoured anyone deemed weak.
Did you know that we inherit fallen behaviors from our ancient parents Adam and Eve? This means that blame shifting comes easily to us. Another automatic fallen behavior is hiding our true selves because we believe that we are shamefully naked and unacceptable.
What that boils down to is this: All the competing and showing off, all the despising another person and thinking ourselves better, smarter, richer and prettier equals fig leaves. My fellow grad students and the faculty were competing over who wore the fanciest fig leaves. Pretty dumb, huh?
Disclaimer: Not everyone competed. Some fought against it and were very kind. But I think everyone was affected by it. Those who were basically secure often felt despised by their peers. Others felt compelled to prove their worth.
Here are some clues that you are discerning the presence of that dog-eat-dog “Smarter Than You” predator spirit.
Do you feel compelled to prove to others that you are smart? Really, really smart?
Do you feel compelled to make others feel stupid?
Do you feel stupid and insecure around certain people, but otherwise feel ok?
Do you feel haunted by feelings of insecurity in certain environments?
Have you fallen into the habit of measuring your worth against the accomplishments of others?
I don’t have a solution for this problem other than this. Bring it before the Lord.
If you are keeping yourself safe by being smart and smarter than everyone else, for goodness sake repent! And ask the Lord to heal your broken heart and to heal the people that you have hurt.
If you are simply discerning this kind of spirit and not in agreement with it, you will feel bad about yourself as if you just don’t measure up. Of course, you may have unresolved hurts in your heart, but those hurts are amplified by this kind of spirit. The problem is a predator spirit—not you.
Ask the Lord how to pray. Ask him to reveal any unresolved hurts that need his touch. And ask for the courage and wisdom to be who you really are without getting caught up in the competition over whose fig leaves are the most dazzling.
These are the only words Jesus used to described his nature (that I have found).
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
Be gentle and humble in heart. Hugs!
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