#4 – Apt to Teach
The fourth qualifier for the man of God whom we seek is that he be apt to teach (I Tim. 3:2; II Tim. 2:24), from his Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding, operating from the authority of God rather than from a counterfeit authority position (man-made licenses, titles, degrees, credentials, positions, etc.). This builds on the counterfeit authority idea that was discussed in the previous email.
When you picture teaching, don’t limit yourself to someone standing in front of a classroom with a piece of chalk in her hand. All of us are teachers, whether we know it or not. Everywhere you go, someone is watching you, and we all learn from each other. But bigger than that, what are you intentional about teaching?
What matters to you in your life? What ideas or themes or issues are important to you and in which you’d like to see change? What ideas do you have about effectuating those changes? More to the point, are they YOUR ideas (versus someone else’s ideas that you are expected to believe and parrot, as in teaching from a Sunday School quarterly) … or are they derived from something that God has to say that you have heard in close communion – walking and talking – with Him, reading His Word, praying, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit?
As you teach, if you are currently doing so actively, do you speak from the authority of the truth that you are tasked to disseminate … or do you wear a robe of apparent authority – a.k.a. “color of law” – from which to command people’s attention and obedience? Do people listen to what you have to say because of the wisdom it conveys and the fact that it rings true with God’s ideas … or do they listen because you have a title before your name or credentials behind and they are commanded, or believe they are constrained, to sit and listen to you? Does your truth “stand on its own two feet” … or must it be buttressed by some other human authority figure saying that it is true because HE says it is so and HE is the “expert”?
If God is alive in you, the knowledge of Him must be burning a hole to get out. It’s not something that one can hide. Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they (the priests and rulers of the temple) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Peter and John had no credentials, but they had a spiritual boldness, a palpable confidence, that came from what they had learned at Jesus’ feet, such that even non-believers recognized it. That’s what we’re talking about here.
It’s not about eloquence or public speaking ability, oratorical ability, dramatic flair or even a way with words. But are you a teacher because you have something that God has put within you for you to say? If so, can we help you be faithful to that calling?