I remember an algebra teacher in the ninth grade that made me wonder who was the student and who was the teacher. It was my desire to get a good grade, but it was even more my desire to learn the subject. Apparently, I was a rarity in that. When I approached the teacher for help, he was content to just look up the answer in the teacher’s manual. He was surprised that I wasn’t satisfied with his answer. I explained that knowing the answer and not the solution would only benefit me for that question and not future questions on tests and such. He considered me argumentative.
That’s not the first time I’ve been called argumentative, and it was definitely not the last. What really frustrates me is the times when I have approached Bible teachers for solutions, and they too just wanted to provide a pat answer. You know, the kind of answer like, “Just because it’s always been done this way.” Scripture might tell us to avoid foolish and vain questions, but it does not tell us to avoid questions altogether. I guess what matters on getting answers is who or “Who” we consult.
In today’s Infinite Supply newsletter, author Chip Brogden speaks about teaching and learning.
When Men Fail
“The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you.”
1 JOHN 2:27
It was God who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to His Ekklesia, to encourage, edify, and establish all of us deeper into Christ. Can the Holy Spirit in John contradict the Holy Spirit in Paul? By no means.
What then? John was the sole survivor of the first twelve apostles, and now he is very old. Naturally he is concerned with the welfare of the Ekklesia after his death. So God comforts John, and then John comforts us, with this truth: even if we do not have access to the apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher, we are still instructed inwardly. The Ekklesia that Jesus is building is not dependent upon the great men or women of God. We are grateful to the ministry gifts when we have them, but we are not dependent upon them for our Life. The Life is greater than the ministers through which it may be ministered.
Source: The Church in the Wilderness by Chip Brogden
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The “Five-Fold Ministry” (from Ephesians 4:11) the author mentions above is to bring ALL SAINTS deeper into Christ. And we–all of us–must go deeper for a reason. Verse 12 tells us that the ministry is… for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. And why are all of us supposed to be equipped for the work of ministry? Verse 12 continues by saying…for the edifying of the body of Christ.
There are teachers and students, but when you read these notes to the Ephesians in context, it should be clear that God’s intention is that we all eventually become teachers. Just like newborns don’t stay infants, and don’t stay toddlers, and don’t stay children; everyone has to grow up eventually. It works the same in spiritual things. Our growing up in The Lord is to “unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God” according to verse 13. Continuing in verse 14, we read…
That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.
Children can be more easily fooled than learned adults. If we remain spiritually immature, we risk being tricked by apostate leaders who call themselves prophets and apostles of God but are instead blind leaders of the blind. I can’t tell you how many times in my walk with God I’ve heard the term “winds of change.” Most of the time, it has introduced some new “minister” with wild new doctrines or miraculous-seeming powers. With this warning about not being carried about with every wind of doctrine, I think it’s wise to be careful of any doctrine that calls itself new or coming in with winds of change.
Just because people proclaim themselves to be teachers does not make them teachers. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 speaks of those who transform themselves into apostles. If someone says he or she is a teacher, reverend, minister, prophet or otherwise, we should watch to find out who taught the teacher to see if the teaching is from God. If those teachers are simply parroting what they learned from other men, we must be careful of them. Better yet, If we’ve been serving God for a while, we should be teaching more than being students. We should seek God as our Teacher, so we do not have to fear being blown around by any false winds of change.
In case you wonder if you are living up to what Scripture considers maturity in Christ, I recommend reading all of Ephesians 4. It gives clear and precise descriptions of the behavior that will be displayed by those who walk with The Lord. May we all walk worthy of the calling of God.
It’s almost that time again. Kids of all ages dress like pirates and ghosts to hunt for sweet treasures and scare up tasty treats. As a child, I loved the dress up, and of course, I loved all the candy. Don’t most of us? We’ve got pictures of ourselves or our children with frosting face from one-year birthday cakes and chocolate noses from first Halloweens and Easters. It all seems so fun and harmless until things like diabetes and obesity become the later-in-life prices for childhood indulgences.
So often, it seems we think that because we don’t see an immediate result to a particular behavior, we don’t think the consequence will truly matter. We don’t end up with a sugar imbalance from just one sweet holiday, or even our first few years of them. (Read the article linked under the word “sugar” for some great insight.) But, thinking we have to see instant results is its own kind of trick. We don’t grow a tree the day after we plant a seed either. Years of excuses to indulge in Christmas candy and birthday cake come to haunt so many of us, and even then, the cravings are so strong that it just seems impossible to switch from suckers to celery. After many doses of sugary treats, we have developed a sweet tooth.
So, what do you think Adam and Eve would tell us now when it comes to our wonderings about tricks and treats? I’m guessing they looked at the Tree of Knowledge as harmlessly as a young mother looks at a chocolate bunny filled with high fructose corn syrup. It’s only one bite. What could it hurt? It grows wild. It’s all natural. There was no warning label on the trunk to say, “If you partake of this fruit, you will end up with a sin tooth.” But that’s exactly what happened, and it spread throughout generations up to where we are today.
Our garden couple did realize something had changed almost immediately, but instead of being humble and repenting for their behaviors, their “sin tooth” had already begun to take hold of them. They began tossing around blame like it would undo what they had just done. They blamed each other, they blamed the enemy, and eventually they even blamed God Himself. (The woman “You gave me” fed it to me.)
Adam and Eve didn’t realize what would happen as a result of their indulgence in either the sin or the excuses for it. They couldn’t see a future outside the garden. The death they inherited with their actions took longer then than it does now, but it started none-the-less. Maybe it wasn’t even the fruit or the revelation of good and evil that brought that death, but the craving for sin that it set up in them. Maybe it was just being outside of a place where they could walk with God daily and learn His wisdom and will for their lives. Maybe there is something that grew outside the garden that negatively affects mankind, and all of us who live and eat from the earth consume it to our detriment.
We still don’t really know what brought death to Adam and Eve. We don’t know exactly how much sugar or which of the other additives in the candy we consume can bring physical suffering to kids as they age. We do know that listening to God would have yielded better results, and we do know that listening to some common sense about health will result in kids growing into healthier adults. I’m certainly not condemning others since I have done my share of “spoiling” kids I’ve cared for in my life. But, what if I hadn’t done that? Would some of them be less apt to be depressed or crave alcohol now? What if my caregivers had taught me to love fresh veggies instead of candy? Would I have less trouble with cravings that lead to weight gain? (A sugar fast has led me to cut down on sugar recently, and I’m already feeling better for it.)
If you are in the place to feed or teach a child, I would ask you not to feed or teach in ways that would create either a sweet tooth or a sin tooth. Fill them with praises of The Creator instead of praises of His creations. Guide them a desire for God’s wisdom more than for man’s knowledge. And, teach them to like the good stuff in flesh and spirit before they have grown up enough to indulge in too much of the bad stuff in either. They may feel tricked more than treated now, but they’ll thank you for the treats of better health and a stronger spirit later.
O taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8 NLV)
From https://www.youversion.com/bible/1/pro.1.kjv (Using KJV for quotes because it’s public domain)…
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
GOD’S WAY JUST WORKS–IT REALLY DOES
The Message Bible calls the Proverbs “A Manual for Living.” And it can be that for anyone who is willing to apply it. Wisdom in this book is in the feminine which is also the way much of Scripture related to the Holy Spirit is written. You could say it’s the “mothering” side of Our Creator. While Daddy is making the rules, Mom is explaining to us why it is in our best interest to follow them. It’s a picture of the wholeness of God’s love for us if ever I’ve seen one.
So what about those harsh-sounding warnings of laughter in the face of our trials? I used to think that was so cruel to even think God would laugh at me and mock when my fear came upon me. It was even worse to think He would not be there for me when I called upon Him. But through much study, I’ve found this is referring to the spirit of wisdom. In a brief thought, it is simply saying, “Because you didn’t listen to wisdom to keep yourself out of a big mess, you’re gonna be laying there crying, ‘I don’t know what to do, now,’ and you won’t be able to find the right answer.”
God’s mercy is new every morning, and He gets us out of a lot of self-inflicted bondage, but He’s not in the business of going around plucking us out of every entanglement we get ourselves into. If we’ve learned the fire is hot and we stick a hand in it anyway, He’s not going to stop it from burning us. If we knew from the wisdom in the depths of our souls that getting involved with the good-looker that has caught our attention, and then we end up brokenhearted like others who followed the same trail before we did, Wisdom will say, “What made you think that the same thing would not happen to you?”
So, today, let’s heed what this passage brings to us. Let’s put God in the proper place in our lives, on His throne and above us as Lord of our whole lives, and then listen when He speaks. Whether He speaks through our hearts, through His written word, or through others He brings on our paths to lead us, let’s have the fear (respect) that will cause us to listen to His wisdom like a child listens to his nurturing mother. When we do that, we have the promise that ends this chapter. As Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, “First pay attention to me, and then relax. Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”
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