Be-Attitudes for Teachers: A Devotional for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil. 4:4)
Is teaching a joyous experience for you? Do you have a passion to communicate God's truth? Or, has your teaching become little more than a job that needs to be done? Do you struggle to get beyond mere crowd control? Are you feeling unfulfilled or a bit disillusioned in your teaching?
The Apostle Paul lets you know that you lose your joy when you become anxious about what you are doing. As a teacher you have a number of concerns that could cause you to worry.
- You may be thinking about all the other tasks you should be doing while you are sitting there preparing a lesson. Busyness yields tension, causing you to be anxious about those things that should bring joy.
- You may be worrying about how to handle that "impossible" student. Why, you can get yourself so worked up before you even arrive in anticipation of what may happen.
- Perhaps you are concerned about what your pupils will think about you, especially if you are teaching youth or adults. Will you be a success or will you fall flat on your face? What if they don't like what you have planned?
Paul's anecdote is prayer. In Philippians 4:6 he says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." When you learn to turn your cares into prayer, then "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Peace is a vital element of joy.
Even in the most adverse of circumstances, it can be well with your soul when you make a conscientious choice to trust God in prayer. Others may be amazed at how you hang in there, and you may scratch your own head in wonder. You will be one of those who "consider it pure joy ... whenever you face trials of many kinds." (James 1:2)
When you take everything to God in prayer, you are depending on His Spirit to work in and through you. As you trust Him, you will bear the fruit of the Spirit, one of which is joy.
Paul continues in Philippians to admonish you to think on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy." In other words, rather than worry and dwell on the negative, replace those anxious thoughts with good and honorable ones. With this comes the promise that "the God of peace will be with you."
Instead of worrying about everything else you have to do, concentrate on the significant purpose He has given you in teaching. Rather than focus on the difficult situations and people, reflect on how God is the God of the impossible. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise. And, He makes those resources available to you. Finally, think on how you might please God rather than man.
Distractions readily abound for teachers. Don't let them rob you of your joy.
Click Below for a Helpful Teacher Training Resource:
Rediscovering the Joy of Teaching PowerPoint Presentation
For Teachers: Examine what is in your heart. List the top three concerns you have in your teaching role. Leave room below each statement to convert the concern into something that fits the thought patterns of Philippians 4:8-9 - that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy. Pray God will help you live out the second statement for each concern.
For Leaders: Keep abreast of teachers' concerns. Send them notes of encouragement specifically zeroing in on their personal situations.
For Group Use: Ahead of time prepare the following: List teacher concerns on small strips of paper, one per strip. Roll up each paper so it will fit through the opening of a balloon. Blow up and knot the balloon. Make up as many balloons as there are concerns. To begin the session, start batting the balloons around, encouraging teachers to have fun. All of a sudden viciously attack the balloons with a pin. Ask participants to collect the slips of paper, leaving them folded until needed. Proceed with the devotional. When you get to the third paragraph which begins to suggest anxieties, substitute the concerns on your slips of paper. Have participants read what is on their slip and expound as desired. At some point in the devotional make note of how the concerns were in the balloons all the time the group was having fun. Once the joy stomper (worry, anxieties, dwelling on negatives, etc.) came along, all they were left with were the concerns. So it is with their teaching.
(Last updated 11/01/19)