I know a lot of teachers, and I have tremendous respect for all of them. Many of them are elementary teachers. Some of them are high school teachers. Others are college professors. And even though all of them teach completely different subject matter, there’s one thing that is the same with all of them. When they teach their students, they want to make sure they’re teaching their students the right things.
They want to make sure they’re teaching their students what verbs are or how to do long division or how to hold their hands correctly when they play the piano. They want to make sure they’re telling their students correctly when the Civil War started and ended and that the United States of America elects our Senators democratically but our presidents through an electoral college.
Being a teacher is a huge responsibility. And if they’re not teaching students correct information, they’re not doing themselves or their students any favors.
It’s the same with the Christian life.
Today’s verse is Colossians 1:28.
28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect[a] in their relationship to Christ.
Those of us who believe in Christ — and especially those of us who have followed Christ for a long time — have a responsibility to reach out to those around us who don’t know Him yet. We are responsible to share the Good News of Christ with everyone. According to this verse, we are to warn people about what will happen if they don’t accept Christ and we’re supposed to teach them how to live.
But read the end of that again, “with all the wisdom God has given us.”
Just like being a teacher is a huge responsibility, being a Christian is a huge responsibility. And if you’re a Christian like me who has followed Christ for more than half your life, it’s a responsibility above and beyond accepting Christ in the first place. Because if you’ve known Christ for any length of time and truly tried to deepen your relationship with Him, you will have experienced trials and difficulties in your life that have increased your faith and taught you valuable lessons about yourself and your God.
And what this verse is saying is that we have a responsibility to share those lessons in faith with the people around us. Warn others not to do the things that got you in trouble. Teach others how to follow Christ no matter what the cost. But when you do it, you must use the wisdom you have gained from God and not wisdom from yourself.
We think we’re so smart. We think we have it all figured out, but many times what we think we understand is merely the tip of the iceberg of God’s great plan. And just when we assume we have everything under control, God pulls the rug out from under us and we have to scramble to keep our heads above water.
When that happens, whose wisdom do you rely on?
Do you trust your wisdom? Do you trust the world’s wisdom? If you do, you’re liable to give up. Or to stab someone in the back. Or to tell a lie. Or to lose your temper. Or to act like someone you’re not to impress someone you don’t like to gain a position you don’t need. Because that’s what our wisdom tells us to do — look out for number one. And that’s not what life is about.
When everything is falling apart, we need to trust in God’s wisdom that says that He always has a plan and He always knows what He’s doing and that He always works everything together for the good of the people who love Him. We need to trust God’s wisdom that says the meek are the ones who will be rewarded and the sorrowful are the ones who will be happy and the humble are the ones who will be exalted. God’s wisdom is diametrically opposed to the world’s wisdom, and looking at it from the world’s perspective, it doesn’t make any sense — but neither does God.
We who have known Christ for a long time are responsible to teach others how to live. But how can we teach others how to live for Christ if we don’t acknowledge His wisdom or if we don’t obey God’s teachings?
So many Christians mean well and try to teach others how to live by using 12-step programs and self-help manuals. Their intentions are good, but their materials are lacking. If you’re trying to teach someone to live for Christ, all you need is the Bible. Everything you need is in there.
If you’re an English teacher who doesn’t know English, how can you teach it? If you’re a math teacher who doesn’t understand math, how can you teach someone else to use it? If you’re a music teacher who can’t sing or play an instrument, how can you teach someone else to love it? If you don’t know the material you’re trying to teach, can you even teach it at all?
If you’re a Christian who doesn’t know the things God has told us, how can you live a Christian life? If you’re Christian who knows the Word of God but chooses to ignore it, how can you teach others to obey when you don’t hold yourself to the same standard?
We are all teachers. Teachers are held to a high standard on earth and rightly so, but heaven’s standards are higher still. So we need to make sure we know what we’re teaching.