I've been doing some reflecting about the last year during some recent down time, and I can come up with all sorts of ideas of things that I need to improve on, or things that I did wrong, or things that I should do again this year. Most of those things have to do with my curriculum or teaching skills in particular. However, I read a devotional in My Utmost for His Highest that really caught my attention recently. I was able to find it online, and have copied it below for you to read:
"The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God . . . —1 Peter 4:17
The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.
If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power."
Weakness. Now there's something I haven't been reflecting on very much. Weakness is something that I generally tend to avoid thinking about, especially spiritual weakness. This is an old, old story that goes back to the beginning of humanity - most people prefer to do things in their own strength. We don't like to rely on others for things; we are independent. However, the reliance on God that Christians should have is one of the most distinct things that makes us different from the rest of the world. Where others are trying to gain merit in their own strength, Christians already know that they have no strength alone. Why, then, is it so hard to depend on God?
As I continue to reflect on the last school year and look ahead to the new school year, I'm plagued with the question of "What if I spent more of my time in prayer, depending on God's strength rather than my own to make it through every single day?" If I acknowledge my weakness and depend wholeheartedly on God's strength, how much more room would the Spirit have to work through me, to work in the hearts of my students?
A humbling thought.