Teaching the Truth: Attitude, Experience, and Knowledge

Teaching

You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
You are Commissioned to Teaching the Truth of Christ!

Do you teach or know someone who does? It seems this time of year that schools find themselves in the trenches of testing and both students and teachers are ready for the school year to end. I heard from two former students this week, one of which will graduate college in a couple more weeks and the other next year. While both of these students are good students they have lost their enthusiasm for learning, at least temporarily, as they both cried out this week, ”I am so ready to no longer be a student”.

Teachers can lose their enthusiasm to teach this time of year also because of the overwhelming amount of work that continues to mount while necessary information still needs to be taught to less than excited students. Adversity, attitude, and workload can push many of those who teach completely out of the field seeking different ways to make a great difference in the world.

What exactly causes both teachers and students to lose their enthusiasm this time of year? The school year began with excitement, what made it dull, as the time passed? What happens during the passing of time that creates the shift? A music teacher, dismayed by the lack of participation she had with the older students at the private school she taught, sought to find out why students became less likely to sing as time passed and they became older. She decided to do a little hands-on research with each grade level by asking one question, ”How many of you sing?” As she reviewed the results she noted that there was a great disparity between two grades, kindergarten and sixth. When the kindergartens were asked the question, ”How many of you sing?” Every child in the grade flew up their hands as every mouth wanted to show their answer with their ability. The sixth graders however gave a much lower show of enthusiasm. When they were asked, ”How many of you sing?” One lone hand went up, the hand of the young ”professional” singer and performer of the group. The other student’s heads hung low as they diverted their eyes not even wanting to make contact with the teacher’s. The results the teacher garnered were greatly divided but also spurred her on to determine a way to change the outcome. Now she had a new question to research, ”What happens between five years of age and twelve that causes children to lose their song, their enthusiasm for music?”

What happens that make followers of Christ lose their song for teaching and sharing with others? What happens to the enthusiasm that was at first overwhelming and after time appears to wane and fade? This week our focus verse is about teaching the truths of Christ and the overwhelming importance of doing so. We have all been given the great mission to tell others about Christ both teaching and learning from one another based on the life altering solidarity of scripture. If we teach others and they in turn teach also, not only will the church expand but we will fulfill our purpose in life; glorifying God.

The early church based their teachings from those who saw, heard, and experienced first-hand Christ events as they unfolded before their eyes. This truth provided the solid foundation for our belief and should alone be the factor that spurs us constantly to teach others the truth we know it to be. The entire basis of Christianity stems from multiple eye witnesses and this should provide us with the vigor to continue to teach others. Good teachers are products of good teaching; good teaching comes from a solid and strong scripture belief system coupled with support and encouragement from fellow believers.

You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)

It takes Three to Change the World

If we all followed Paul’s encouragement with the learning and teaching of others while making new believers everyday based on the truth of solid and strong scripture belief, we would experience a changed world. The results would find the world-wide church expanding tremendously impacting our world and the way we see it run.

So what happens? Why do we become afraid of stepping out in faith to tell others the truth about Jesus? Why do we often get our priorities all mixed up and make the world lead our life instead of God? What can we do about it to bring a change in our own enthusiasm? How can we live our life like we mean it for God and not the world; learning, sharing, and teaching others along the way?

There are three ways that must work together to help turn around your enthusiasm for teaching and keep the encouragement to glorify Christ, doing your part to pass on grace to the world.

1. Attitude ”“ Attitude is the secret to a lot of life issues as it is our attitude that determines how we approach things. It was the attitude of the kindergartens that made them all say they were singers and it was the attitude of the sixth graders that made them say they were not. A study done some years ago and attributed to Harvard University found that when a person gets a job, 85% of the time it is because of their attitude. Knowledge and experience attributes to only the 15% remaining. Your attitude applies to every facet of your life; both personal and professional. The firm foundation of your success is greatly determined by your attitude. Paul reminds Timothy to present himself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) An attitude of truth will teach truth to others.

2. Knowledge ”“ Knowledge is the cornerstone to teaching. You must have knowledge of the subject you are going to teach and you must be constantly and consistently studying and adding to your knowledge base. You cannot allow knowledge however to affect your attitude making you over-confident or under confident. You must use the knowledge of truth by simply teaching and sharing with others what you know.

3. Experience ”“ Experience is probably what makes the teaching of truth the most powerful, for it is with experience that knowledge comes alive. There is a story of an explorer that illustrates the power of experience and shows how knowledge alone is not enough.

The story begins as the explorer who after some years, returns to his country from the Amazon. The people of his homeland were eager to learn all about the mighty river and land that surrounded it. The explorer however was unsure how he would ever put into words the feelings that overwhelmed him when he saw the beautiful and exotic flowers and listened to the choruses that the jungle sang at night. He did not know how to give language to the smells that infiltrated the air or the feelings of excitement that would overtake him and his companion explorers, when they came across strange animals or paddled furiously through treacherous rapids.

So instead of attempting words he simply told the people to go and find out for themselves what it is like. To help them find their way he drew them a map of the river and pointed out the various places of interest on its course. In addition he cautiously described the dangers and how to avoid them.

The people though didn’t take the experience. They took instead the map; framing it and hanging it on the wall of the science museum, so everyone could see it. Some people even made copies of the map for themselves and studied it. They considered themselves experts on the river, as they knew from their studies; every bend and turn. They knew how wide it was, how deep the water pooled, along with where the rapids and falls were. They knew the river map well and began teaching others what it was like whenever anyone indicated an interest in it. They took their knowledge and separated it out from their experience; of which they had none, attempting to teach the truth of the river from only that area.

You cannot effectively teach the truth by isolating attitude, knowledge, or even experience. All three areas must work together to effectively teach and witness to others. You must know the scripture but you must also understand them through experience. You cannot simply look at them, you must go there. To tell others about forgiveness you must first repent your own sins and allow God to forgive you. Teaching others about the truth of Christ can only be completed by knowing Christ and then experiencing Him, yourself. It will then be with great attitude that you will go forth teaching others the truth you learned.

We are challenged every day to step out and teach others the truth of our faith, no matter the obstacles faced. We see and hear stories of people in dire and life threatening circumstances doing this all the time. They do this because they know that the truth is the most important thing they are to do; they know that to teach truth it takes attitude, knowledge, and experience combined to produce students that will pass on the truth to others.

There are no excuses just a commitment level to God. Where is yours?

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Post Script:

Do you think you do not have what it takes to teach others the truth about Christ? The Rev. Fernando Henrique Huf, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil tells the story of Rogério, a married man in southern Brazil.

Rev. Huf went to conduct an evangelism workshop in the area when he met Rogério. Upon arriving in the area Huf was met by Rogério’s wife who promptly informed him that Rogério was too shy to evangelize. However the next day found Rogério in the church with his entire family listening to how to live out his faith.

Then, at a certain point Rev. Huf asked the participants, “How did you come to Jesus’ church?”

Surprisingly, three families stated, “Rogério invited us to church.”

At the time of Rogério’s invitation, two of those three families were participating in pagan African-Brazilian cults and one of the men had been a leader of worship in Umbanda for 20 years! Now, they are Christians studying the Word of God to spread it to others!

Rogério, a shy, introverted man, with a simple invitation, was God’s teaching tool. Rogério carried out an act of love and care that showed that ”It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20b)

Never underestimate the teaching power of a simple invitation.

For Additional Study

2 Timothy 1:13, Ephesians 4:12-13

What are Your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Have you found it easy to teach others the truth of Christ? Do you teach the truth of Christ through attitude, knowledge, and experience? Have you passed on the teaching of truth to other trustworthy people who also teach? Join us in discussion on teaching the truth of Christ as we are commissioned to do.

How God is working through your life?