This week's quote comes from A.W. Tozer:
"...[biblical] exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth."
As teachers and leaders we're often tempted to impart knowledge to our students. We've done our research, we've studied the passages, we have a wealth of information we'd like to pass on. But information doesn't change lives. Encountering God does.
If our goal as leaders is to foster life change through learning (remembering that only God changes hearts), then we need to be willing to take the information we've prepared and tie it to experience. What difference does this information make? What does it tell me about God's character? What does it tell me about God's way of interacting with mankind? What does it reveal about the work God desires to accomplish in this world? What does it reveal about what He desires to do in or through me? In what ways has God revealed this truth in my experience? How might He apply this truth in the lives of my students or group members?
Intellectual ascent isn't the same phenomenon as intimacy with God. To move my students beyond intellectual ascent I need to ask and answer these questions as I prepare: how can this truth foster deeper intimacy with God in my students? How can I offer this truth in a way that will foster life change? What illustrations can I use to help my student identify this truth with real life situations? What one thing from this biblcal exposition can my students apply? What practical steps can I give them this week to help them apply it?
Teaching isn't about impressing others with our knowledge; it's about being faithful stewards of God's word and being vessels for life change.
It's good to perform a self-check now and then: what kind of vessels are we: the kind that leads to intellectual ascent or the kind that fosters life change?
'Til next time,