Read: James 3
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. (James 3:1-2)
I’m on a break from teaching with the school holidays, so now is a good time to meditate on this verse, before I head back into my two teaching roles: teaching men to read and women to read the Bible.
James has a warning for me (3:1): that, as a teacher, I “will be judged more strictly.” It is absolutely imperative that I teach rightly and righteously.
In my reading, writing and spelling classes, this means teaching consistently the patterns of the English language: phonemes, graphemes, blending and segmenting and word classes, syntax and punctuation. It also means teaching my students as my ‘neighbour’ with respect, humility and compassion.
In my Bible study small group, I must prepare diligently so I know the text (2 Corinthians, next term) thoroughly and have allowed God to speak to me through the text before I attempt to help my group members hear God’s voice through his word. It again means treating my small group members as my ‘neighbour’ with gentleness, kindness and understanding.
In all this, there is a reminder that although the standard is very high, God knows “we will all stumble in many ways” (3:2). I am not perfect, not faultless in what I say. There is only one who was perfect, the greatest Teacher, Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God, for Jesus died to grant his perfection to me and to all who believe in him. [This is the doctrine of imputation of righteousness.] Trusting and relying upon Christ’s perfection, therefore, I set out to teach.
The imperfections of my teaching are covered by the perfection of Christ.
LORD God Almighty,
I know I’m not perfect, and I’m certainly not a perfect teacher. I slack off, or have down days – sometimes even weeks or months where I struggle to feel the passion for teaching words and teaching your Word that I’ve felt before.
Thank you that Jesus was a perfect example of teacher for me to model my own teaching upon. Thank you that he was not just a model; thank you that he justified me and made me righteous.
May your Spirit empower my teaching. Make me bold, enthusiastic and godly.