I have been teaching an Adult Bible Study Class for 37 years, but there was one small problem I ran into…the Bible says that teachers of the Gospel, having a responsibility to others to share the truth, will be held even more accountable for their teaching on Judgment Day. When I started teaching, did I realize what I was getting into? Was I really up to this task? Had I bitten off more than I could chew? I was thirsty to learn alright, but that is not enough. I was becoming “turned-on” and I loved teaching. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would help me and forgive me for my failings as the responsibility to the class was growing within me. The class grew and learned inspite of my teaching mistakes. I was so busy trying to provide for my family, raising two daughters, and working two jobs; it was easy to end up on a Saturday night coming to the realization that I wasn’t ready for my class the next morning. I needed some discipline to force me to study.
Mad at myself for letting my LORD down (as well as myself) I would pray for the Holy Spirit to help me through the class. The class would turn out to be a good one, but not because of my actions. I vowed to not let that happen again, but of course it did again. The winds of Satan, that great confuser and mighty destroyer of all that is good. You only feel Satan’s destructive “winds” when you are trying to do something for God; otherwise, who cares about you? Satan already has you and he does not have to work at toppling your tree. Winds were blowing against me. These winds came in the form of self-induced stupid decisions, poor partners, poor clients, and the fact that Satan simply wishes to topple any Christian teacher…thus stopping the Word, the Logos at any opportunity.
In reflection, I knew that I was not doing my best for my LORD. I had a real responsibility to a smart class of adults that deserve much better. I simply cannot go into class unprepared. My 16-hour work day business efforts, though real, had become a weak excuse for not studying. Am I giving Christ the preeminence in my life? No…not yet was my honest assessment!
If you are not searching for Jesus Christ, then you will never be a real Christian; you’re a Christian in name only, like belonging to club. Anyone can sit in a church pew, but are you transformed by what you hear? Knowing Holy Scripture is not enough and knowing who Jesus is, is not enough. The Satan and his demons know who Jesus is and what the Holy Scripture says; the question to ask yourself is: am I transformed by the Holy Spirit to put Jesus Christ first in my life above all else?
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19 ESV)
If I am not studying properly for my Sunday School class, then I have only two possible solutions. One choice, I can stop teaching so I can do what I want to. The problem with this possible choice is…if I have been called by God to teach and then in my own selfishness, I don’t give my best to God or worse yet, I reject the call all together, what does that say about my love for God? Have I given God the preeminence in my life? No, I have not!
The second choice I have is to reject self and yield to God’s will. Of course, this is not recommended by the world that says “you” come first, you must be self-actualized, but then…the world is a fallen place. If I yield to God’s will, God will empower me. We have received a promise from Christ Jesus that if we will position ourselves to do His will, that the Holy Spirit will come into us and empower us to do great things for God (Mark 16:15-17).
Jesus, just before he ascended into heaven, said:
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8 ESV)
What was my choice? I committed to be one of Jesus’ witnesses and become the best teacher I could be, not by my ability, but by my willingness to be used by the Spirit of God. Funny thing, the more I studied, the more I learned and the more the desire to know more grew. I took class preparation much more seriously. It was like being thirsty and the water was so wonderful that I wanted more and more. The more I drank of this “living water”, the more I wanted and the more I was fulfilled but not made full. I was not thirsty due to dryness; no, I was becoming very refreshed. I longed for more of the “living water”; my roots were taking on the nourishment (John 4:10-14 & 7:37-39). I would not ever be thirsty again for “regular water”…the world’s water.