My husband is a band director spending many hours investing in the band students and supporting their interest in music. It is no surprise that the students often choose him as one of their favorite teachers. It is a great honor to be appreciated so much by students. Many of them probably enjoy not only the subject matter but also the difference that it makes to have a teacher who truly cares about your overall well-being. Think back to one of your favorite teachers. What about them made a difference in your life?
Jesus the Teacher
Jesus spent His final years as a teacher. He chose 12 men to train and disciple intimately. They were eyewitnesses of every moment in Jesus’ teaching ministry. They listened carefully and asked questions. But Jesus also taught large crowds of people that followed Him around wanting to understand more about Him and His message. Perhaps even more radical was His willingness to teach anyone—men and women—and even tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, and the crippled and diseased.
Jesus was often called Rabbi by his inner circle of disciples, but also by others who recognized Him as a teacher. For all His disciples and followers, Jesus was using teaching methods that were engaging and interesting. He was making the Word of God come alive to them. Because He literally is the Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Some of these teaching methods included using parables, which are stories that illustrate a truth, such as Matthew 7:24–27. He would also explain familiar Bible stories and Scriptures from a new perspective taking a more in-depth approach and yet somehow keeping it all in simple terms. He would explain how following the commandments demand more than outward action; they demand inward motive. And yet Jesus also narrowed down all the commandments and Law into two: love God and love others.
The Importance of a Strong Spiritual Foundation
In Matthew 7:24–27, Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount with a parable that illustrates what will happen on judgment day. Jesus makes it clear that there is a foundational difference between those who merely listen and those who practice what He says. Listening to Jesus’ teachings is not enough. Jesus wants people to make His teachings part of their everyday lives. Jesus requires a response from everyone who hears the message.
Building up a strong spiritual foundation is very important to one’s life. And this is not something that develops from just hearing God’s Word. In Jesus’ parable, the one who heard but did nothing had absolutely no foundation. The foundation comes from putting into practice Jesus’ teachings.
Spiritual foundation does not happen without setbacks and missing the mark. God’s grace is so very good to deepen our spiritual foundation even though we are not perfect. Thankfully we serve a God who is perfect and we can follow the teachings of His Son who is perfect.
How Are You Strengthening Your Spiritual Foundation?
You can always find ways to deepen your own spiritual foundation. There are many ways to train yourself and discipline yourself so that your faith grows. I have always enjoyed revisiting Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. It contains inspiration and encouragement to pursue specific methods to create new spiritual habits or to be more intentional with old spiritual habits.
Recently I have become more diligent about Scripture memorization. I have always treasured being able to recall God’s Word in my daily life and most certainly in my prayer life. I wanted to share that with my children.
So each morning at the breakfast table with a cup of hot coffee in my hand, we reach for the morning basket. We follow a simple system of Scripture note cards with specific verses to recite daily, weekly, and monthly. We add more and shuffle them around as we become familiar with the words and what they mean for us.
After doing this for more than two years, we have over 100 Scriptures in our morning basket. Still it is never a chore to recite them because we only ever have 4–5 verses a day. And nothing brings me more delight than when my children are recalling Scripture in their everyday life. They might be inspired by something in nature or simply playing with their toys, and I will overhear them reciting Scripture. Spiritual foundations require diligence, but the rewards will give you such an abundant life.
Libby Quigg enjoys writing for WMU and teaching children to play guitar. Her husband, Jesse, is also a musician and teaches high school students. They homeschool their three kids—Veni, Ocean, and Atlas.
Image by jonas brorson from Pixabay