Be-Attitudes for Teachers: A Devotional for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers
BE - BE - BE
Jesus replied, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Prov. 4:23)
A teacher must do certain things to be effective but more importantly, a teacher must be. In God's eyes, being is more important than doing. The most effective method for teaching is one's life as a teacher. Attitudes and motivations of the teacher are extremely important in the teaching-learning process. Inner qualities take precedence over outward appearance and activities.
God makes that rather clear in His Word. A good example is when He chose David as king over Israel. God led Samuel to Jesse's household to anoint the next king saying that it would be one of Jesse's sons. Surely, Samuel must have thought, the chosen one would be the eldest or the strongest-looking. But the Lord said to Samuel,
"Do not consider his appearance or his height ... The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).
The world measures success by how one looks, how much money one possesses, or how organized, efficient, and influential one may be. To the world, technique is everything. Bigger and better strategies and innovative techniques are sought to improve mankind's condition. In reality, we do not get much further ahead because the heart remains unchanged. Only God can change the heart.
As teachers we must learn the realization of the Apostle Paul who, in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, said "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."
Paul did many good things but they came as a result of merely being a conduit through whom the Spirit could work. Paul had a yielded heart.
Be someone God can use.
He chose you to build His character in you. Examine Ephesians 1:4 which says "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world." Why? --that you should be a faithful church goer? No. --that you should be a witness? No. --that you should be a preacher or teacher? No. Rather, He chose you in Him "to be holy and blameless in His sight." Romans 8:29 concurs saying, "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son." And Colossians 1:28 says the goal is to "present everyone perfect (mature, complete) in Christ." Each of these passages depict character, your being. Likewise, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 and the characteristics of godliness in 2 Peter 1 are qualities of the heart.
To be sure, God wants you to be a faithful church goer, witness, preacher and teacher. He wants you to act in obedience. The fruit of the Spirit and the characteristics of godliness, while issues of being, will be expressed in outward acts. The truth is, when you are who you should be, you will do what you should do. Then you will be the kind of teacher who impacts students' lives.
For Teachers: 2 Peter 1:3 says God's "divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature." Then it goes on in verse 5 to list the qualities of godliness. Verse eight concludes, "for if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Take time to review the qualities of "being" in verses 5-7. Ask God to show you how you can add these qualities to your life in increasing measure so you will be a more effective and productive teacher.
For Leaders: Pray for each of your teachers, and yourself, by name with your Bible open to Galatians 5:22-26 and then 2 Peter 1:3-9. Pray God will help your teachers be all they can be in Him. Pray they will yield both their strengths and weaknesses to Him.
For Group Use: Have members of the group think back to teachers they have had primarily in the church but also in school. Ask each person to complete the sentence, "I remember a teacher who . . . ". You could ask them to write it down and then share. The common theme of their sharing will probably be that they remember a teacher's character and love more than his or her words. The teacher may not have been very good in methodology but had great impact on their lives nonetheless. Verbalize that observation and then move into the content of this devotional.