Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teach Joy

In college, one of the things I learned in InterVarsity was that every Christian should have a spiritual mentor. Our leader said his mentor was his superior in IV. And that person’s mentor was the head of the international InterVarsity. Then he dropped a name that left us all in awe. The head’s mentor was John Stott. I tried to imagine being mentored by the author of Basic Christianity.

There are some writers I admire who communicate God’s Word so well – John Stott, John Piper, Francis Schaffer and my all time favorite, C. S. Lewis. I’ve also known a few amazing teachers of the Word – Wes Hardy, Emmanuel Haqq, Tim Brittain. But I have to be careful how I look up to them. As Jesus put it, don’t call them Father because only God is my spiritual father.

The other side is that I need to be careful about my attitude as a teacher. I do know something about the Bible and I can sound confident in my interpretation, but I don’t want anyone to admire me for it. When it’s appropriate, I just want to help others learn.

We are all equal in God’s eyes. Jesus teaches that the exalted will be humbled and the humbled will be exalted. That doesn’t mean that they will change positions with each other, but that they’ll be brought to an equal position.

Teachers shouldn’t dominate their students by telling them how to put their faith into practice. Instead they should come alongside to share knowledge. In other words, teachers should be a partner in learning. In the end, each person stands firm by her own faith and is accountable for how she applies what she’s learned.

Instead of telling his readers how to live, Paul’s goal as a teacher of God’s truths was fill his students with joy. 

I sometimes teach or lead Bible studies. When I do, I’m a partner with my students in learning. They have to want to learn and they have their own faith. But I want to help my students enjoy God’s Word. I can do that if I share my love of what I know and let my joy in it communicate the message. Hopefully, they’ll learn from me because they catch my joy.

The goal of learning is to reach joy.
Joy in God’s ways.
Joy in God's Word.
Joy in God.

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