Dear Teacher, Do You Love God's Word?

The Bible puts a high value on the teaching and preaching of word of God. James 3:1 says "Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment". (CSB)  The role of teacher is an important role in the church, and there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be one.  But it is clear that that a teacher of God's words has a higher level of accountability with God.  James was making sure in the early 1st century church that the word of God was being rightly divided.  He recognized how dangerous it would be for churches to allow misguided or untrained teachers to teach.  At best it could have led to biblical misunderstandings, and at worst it could have led to false teaching or heresy.

With all that said, I take my role as a Christian educator seriously when it comes to appointing teachers.  Primary among the things a teacher should exhibit, I believe, is a passion and deep affection for the word of God.  Have any of you ever sat in a Sunday school class where the teacher seemed disinterested or bored by what they were teaching?  Did it seem as if they were treating the Bible as if it were a guide full of good recommendations and practices rather than the powerful, God-breathed source of life that it is? I know for me, I have seen it all too often.  Truth be told I have been there myself.  This attitude should not be present in any believer, let alone the one who is tasked with teaching God's word.

Fortunately for us, if we ever reach a place in our spiritual lives where we forget just how precious God's word is, we have Psalm 119 to turn to.  Sure it is the longest chapter in the Bible.  Sure it contains 176 verses.  But it is a reminder to us of just how awe-inspiring, life-giving, powerful God's word is.  Let's look at just a handful of the verses in this Psalm

119:11 "I have treasured your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you"
The Bible is a treasure to hide in our hearts.  If you love God's word it helps you defeat sin.  This verse pictures the heart as a treasure chest full of God's promises.  So when we are tempted to cherish other things more than God, we go to this treasure chest in our hearts and remind ourselves of how precious He is.  Do you treasure God's word?

119:24  "Your decrees are my delight and my counselors"
The world is willing to give us all kinds of bad advice.  The psalmist was surrounded by people who sought to harm him.  Their words and advice were treacherous.  So he turned to God's word to advise Him.  He delighted in the Lord's decrees because they were good and trustworthy.

119:71  "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes"
Like any child we often have to learn the hard way sometimes.  The psalmist viewed the discipline of the Lord as good for him.  Hardships help us understand God and His word in ways we wouldn't otherwise.  The psalmist loved God's word so much that it is what he turned to in times of affliction

119:82  "My eyes grow weary looking for what you have promised; I ask, 'When will you comfort me?'"
Even at the end of life, the psalmist was clinging to the promises of God's word.  They were a comfort to him and better than life itself.

119:92 "If Your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction"
The psalmists' afflictions would have overwhelmed him had it not been for his deep love for God's word.  It was his delight in the instructions of the Lord that sustained him.

So if you are a teacher of God's word, take some time and read this Psalm.  Recapture your affection for God and His word.  Allow your deep love of Scripture to overflow to your class every week.  One of the best things that could ever happen to a church is for the love of God's word among it's leaders to become infections and catch on with the whole congregation.  A church full of people consumed with passion for God and His word can change a community and the world.

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