Q. I've been a Christian for over 20 years. I've been involved in my church as a Sunday school teacher and am currently leading a "Way of Agape" Bible study. Within the last few months, I've found myself in a trial I never dreamed I would ever be in. I am having to walk, moment by moment, in my personal life what I am teaching. My question: Should I discontinue teaching this class because my circumstances are out of my control and have caused my personal life to be "far from perfect"? (Email from Mary)
A: Mary, first of all, if everyone who ministers "jumps ship" when circumstances happen that make their life less than perfect, there would be very few of us ministering. In fact, I want to encourage you because I believe you are the perfect one to be teaching this class. You are walking and living what you are teaching: experiencing firsthand God's supernatural Power and Agape Love in the midst of your personal crisis. As long as you "keep yourself clean" by confessing and repenting of any known sin and walking, by faith, in His Word, then you are doing what God wants you to do.
The enemy, Satan (and his demons), would like nothing better than to see you give up. Many teachers and leaders of the Word are "throwing in the towel" so to speak, because they do not understand that Satan has declared outright war on them. Whenever Satan starts to see evidence that you are committed to teach and transform people's lives, the warfare begins.
The personal "storm" you are in right now is developing in you a deepening humility, a greater mourning, a sorrow for sin, and a heightened hunger for God's righteousness. He is developing a tender heart in you towards the weaknesses and failings of others. Though you aren't aware of it, the Lord is using this storm to deepen in you the roots of Christ's compassion. So don't get down on yourself and get discouraged! The spirit of discouragement is Satan's most potent weapon against God's leaders for these end times. He'll use it to try to convince you that you or your family are not measuring up to God's Holy standards and that you have no business teaching God's Word.
You have to see your discouragement for what it really is! It's a demonic weapon - an arrow that Satan shoots at you to get you to doubt yourself. He knows he can't tempt you to turn away from Jesus, so he'll come at you another way to make you think you'll never be good enough to serve Christ. He wants to get you downcast so that you'll give up and not want to teach anymore. Peter writes, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you (1 Peter 4:12)." Discouragement is a trial God's people have endured for centuries!
God is making you a mighty warrior for His end-time army. He could act at any time to pluck you out of your struggle. But He hasn't - because He is seeing it produce in you a greater thirst for Him!
Why is God allowing His Servants to go through hard times and be handed over to death and discouragement? He does it so the life of Christ will flow out of us to others! If we allow death to complete its work in us, a manifestation of the Christ-life will come forth in us. And our testimony will produce life in all who hear it. As teachers and servants of Christ-when family heartaches come, when financial problems hit, when physical pain strikes or when your name and character are being defamed-what will people see flowing out of you? Will they see that moment-by-moment faith walk or will they see despair?
God wants you to know that right now, in the midst of your storm, He stands beside you. He is watering your spirit, feeding your soul, putting down His strong roots. So let the winds of struggle blow hard. Your Father is preparing you for a great harvest! Don't give up teaching and being His servant. Hold on and He will show you great and mighty things.
King's High Way Manager