Be-Attitudes for Teachers: A Devotional for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Heb. 10:24)
Perhaps getting up for work may not excite you but the resultant paycheck may give you all the motivation you need. If you don't have to go to work, you might get up because you would feel guilty if you slept in. Perhaps you have places to go, people to see, or things to do.
The alarm clock did not inspire you to get up but rather the need associated with it. You fail to get up when the motivating factor isn't there or isn't strong. Your physical need for sleep, comfort, or the escape it provides may outweigh reasons to get up.
Everyone is motivated by something.
Our aim is that our students are motivated toward the right things. If we are going to be inspiring, to be used of God to spur others on to love and good deeds rather than selfish and godless living, then we must motivate them toward it.
The act of inspiring people is one of infusion. The word "inspiration" is used in 2 Timothy 3:16 of Scripture. Some versions use the phrase "God-breathed." Webster's first definition for inspiration is "to breathe or blow into or upon." He goes on to say it is "to infuse (as life) by breathing." This gives Scripture a divine origin and a life-giving effect.
We are not God so we cannot impart life in the same way God did with Scripture. We can, however, be His agent to incite a reaction within students much like an alarm clock which wakes them up and alerts them of their need to get up and get moving.
To inspire people on in their walk with God, to spur them on to love and good deeds, you yourself must be inspired by truth. You must live it and love it yourself. Words backed up by a life that lives what is taught is the greatest source of inspiration. As you live what you believe, you come to love it as well, expressed by an enthusiasm or excitement toward it. This exhibition of life is contagious, inspiring others.
Being an inspiring teacher goes beyond words and actions to the attitude of your heart. You begin with love toward God. What you say and do then comes out of your own walk with Him. You have found God to be all-encompassing and all-sufficient, big enough to help you and to meet every need. This then, is the God you represent. If you want to inspire people toward God, you must showcase Him as limitless and completely adequate.
Your love toward God leads to a heart attitude of love for others. When people feel as though you care about them and believe in them (1 Cor. 13), then they are more likely to sit up and listen. Once you have their attention, they will hear what you have to say.
You inspire others by goodness toward them. That is how God inspires people to fear Him according to Jeremiah 32:40 -- "I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." God gets people's attention through His lovingkindness toward them.
As teachers our aim should be to incite people to love and good deeds, to live out truth in their everyday lives. We can be motivating agents in our students' lives as we live it out ourselves, spurred on by our love for God and for them. These acts of inspiration will affect others in such a way as to cause a reaction in them that ignites their hearts to get up and get moving.
For Teachers: Think back on a biography you have read of someone who may be considered a great person. Or, if you haven't read a biography for some time, read one. How did that agent's actions and attitudes affect you, and why? Consider how your life is like a book to be read by your students. Will they come away inspired to do good?
For Leaders: Encourage your teachers to be more inspiring by acknowledging ways that they already are. Write each of your teachers an affirming note.
For Group Use: Ask them to think back to inspiring teachers they have had. Make a list on the chalk or white board of what made these teachers so inspiring. Point out how in some cases it was the effect they had on the students. For some it was something they did -- their actions. And for others, it may have been an attitude they exhibited. You may want to write the words "aim" (effect), "act" and "attitude" on the board. Proceed with the devotional and point to the words as you get to those sections.
(Last updated 09/01/18)