With textbooks and course syllabi in hand and attitudes in check, students all over entered the classrooms this week. With goodbye hugs and kisses to their children, moms and dads also sent them off with reminders to raise their hands, don’t talk back, be respectful, use your manners, and many prayers for their child’s behavior while in the classroom. As students of Christ, we too, sometimes need reminders about our own behavior in the classroom so that we do not lean towards passivity or disruption. Our Master Teacher desires for us to interact with Him and be active participants in the classroom as He teaches His students. So what does active participation in the classroom of God entail?
As in all relationships, communication is a key factor. In the school classroom, students ask and answer questions when called upon. This allows the student the freedom to approach the teacher with anything that they do not understand, as well as the opportunity for the teacher to examine where the student is in regards to their learning progress. As students of Christ, we should also approach our time with our Master Teacher, with hearts prepared to interact. Obviously, this communication comes in the form of prayer. We have direct access to the Teacher and should not be intimidated to ask questions as well as receive instruction (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Some questions for us to consider when entering the classroom of the Master Teacher include:
- Are we willing to be examined by the Master Teacher and receive praise for the work well done, the correction for work that was done wrong, and even rebuking for work done in our own ability and wisdom? (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Do we have a readiness to answer questions from the Master Teacher in regards to our own spiritual progress?
- Do we have any questions regarding the “homework” we have completed or been studying?
Times of prayer enable the student the freedom to listen to God as well as ask questions. This should not be taken for granted and the student of Christ who is active and awake will increase in wisdom and knowledge just as our Lord and Savior did while on earth (Luke 2:52).
While asking and answering questions in the classroom is the verbal form of active participation, there is also the written form. The student of Christ should not be satisfied with sitting and listening to the teacher and those around them. Rather the student who desires to grow in their walk with the Lord picks up their pen and takes notes. This is modeled throughout Scripture as well as history. Records of men and women who have taken the time to record what they have learned as well as their own thoughts and prayers have ministered to many over the course of time. The apostle Luke is just one example as we consider his reasons for writing:
Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed. Luke 1:1-4
Keeping a journal and taking notes benefits the student in several ways. It helps to engage more of the brain during the learning process and increases the ability for the student to share that information later with others. It also gives the student a record to look back on and give glory to God for answered prayers. God, Himself, models this through the inspired work of the Bible. Is the Bible not His own record of the work He has done, is doing, and will do in the future? Why would we not desire to follow His great example?
Most students do not have trouble entering the classroom on any given day as long as they have completed their homework. For those who decided it would be better to continue watching television, complete the video game they were playing, or texting all night, find it difficult to hold their head high when entering the classroom with uncompleted work. Again this is the same pattern for the student of Christ. As a student of Christ, we should never be ashamed to enter the classroom unless there is something else we have invested our time in that God did not want us to. But it should not be a feeling of shame, but of conviction that leads to repentance and a desire to walk in obedience next time.
We should not be ashamed to come to class when we have done our best to study and present our best. Should God receive less from us?
As a former public school and current homeschool teacher, it is not irrational to believe that the students who are active participants in the class yield the greatest productivity, wisdom, and knowledge. Those students who are constantly listening, asking questions, taking notes, and coming to class prepared with completed homework have the most success. If this is the case for human educational growth, why expect anything different for our spiritual growth? This week may we consider being active participants in the presence of our Lord and Savior.
Find a notebook to record your journey. During your time in the Word, take notes, write down your prayers and even questions. Spend some time in prayer with the Father. There are many resources to choose from to help you engage more actively during your time with the Lord. One I used early on is found at Quiet Time Ministries.
Teach me, LORD, the meaning of Your statutes, and I will always keep them.
Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.
Help me stay on the path of Your commands, for I take pleasure in it.
Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
Confirm what You said to Your servant, for it produces reverence for You.
Turn away the disgrace I dread; indeed, Your judgments are good.
How I long for Your precepts! Give me life through Your righteousness. Psalm 119:33-40
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