Being held to a higher standard

Have you ever been in a situation where you were held to a higher standard than someone else? Take a public official or a government leader for example. If someone in a position like that lies or breaks a rule, it’s a big deal (or at least it used to be).

People lie and break rules all the time, but as a public figure, especially as an elected official, you are judged much more harshly than a “normal person.”

Did you realize that concept holds true in the Bible too? The Bible says that there is a certain group of people who will be held accountable for what they say, more so than any other group. Know who they are?

The beautiful grounds at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

The beautiful grounds at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are James 3:1-2.

Dear brothers and sisters,not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

That’s right. Teachers.

Think about it. Who do you go to for help? A teacher can be anyone. A pastor. A Bible study leader. A Sunday School teacher. Anyone who takes it upon themselves to teach other people about God and the Bible. And those people who have chosen that path will be held accountable for what they teach–whether it’s true or not. Because those people have taken the responsibility on themselves to teach others.

Check out verse 1 in the Amplified Version:

Not many [of you] should become teachers (self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation].

Did you catch that? Teachers “assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation.”


Granted, if you are a Christ follower, you can never be condemned. But in this instance, I think James is making a point. If you are a teacher–if you have taken it upon yourself to be someone who leads others–you are putting yourself in a place of responsibility that will be judged very harshly by God.

So here’s the deal. If you’re a teacher, if you’re someone who is in a position of leadership, you have a responsibility to share God’s truth with people. Not your opinions. Not your preferences. Now, you can and should make your opinions and preferences known. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the moment your opinions and preferences go from being yours to being God’s, you have a problem.

This concerns me. A lot. Because the longer I live, the more I seem to end up in positions of leadership. And I keep ending up in situations where I am being given more and more responsibility. And the last thing I want to do is to teach something as God’s truth when it’s really just my own personal sentiment.

Kind of like I posted yesterday, as someone who was raised in a godly home, I have a responsibility to share God’s word with others. But as a teacher, I have a responsibility to make sure what I’m sharing actually lines up with God’s Word.

Otherwise I’m just blowing smoke. I’m misleading people. I’m defeating my own purpose, simply because I can’t get myself out of the way.

So how do I do that? How do I make sure what I’m teaching is actually helping people instead of confusing them or leading them away from God? Well, first off, you need to know what you’re teaching. You need to know the Bible if you’re going to teach it. That means you have to read it. And if you’re going to teach it effectively, what I’ve discovered is that you have to go beyond reading it. You have to love it.

I’m leaving on vacation tonight, and one of the main things I plan to do while I’m gone is to sit in a quiet place and have a conversation with God about this very topic. I want to make sure God and I are on the same page. It’s just been so long since I’ve had time to sit and talk to God, and I miss it. We have a lot to talk about, and I’m looking forward to it.

I can’t guarantee that there will be a blog post tomorrow. Or Monday either.  Sometimes getting alone with God means putting everything else to the side.

Teachers have a responsibility to lead others. And because they will be held accountable for what they teach, it’s important they know what they’re teaching.

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