“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” ~Titus 2:2
A Christian school’s Administration, Teachers, Coaches, and Staff are to maintain certain qualities. As mentioned in a previous post, Teachers are to be true biblical Christians. In addition to that, this portion of the passage has specific qualities that I am sure God wants Christian school Teachers to have. We will look at each one individually (this will take 3 blog posts to complete), today we will cover the first four items Paul mentioned in the above passage:
- They are to be temperate.
TEMPERATE: Marked by moderation : as a: keeping or held within limits : not extreme or excessive : mild b: moderate in indulgence of appetite or desire c: moderate in the use of alcoholic beverages d: marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship. (Merriam-Webster)
That is a great definition, it gives me an idea of a person that is “middle of the road”, “even keel”, or “has it all together”. A person should not be excessively flamboyant, “a loose cannon”, or “unpredictable or erratic”, because Jesus wasn’t. If you are a school Administrator, you might want to ask yourself “how does each of our staff members measure up to that definition?” Then possibly discuss with them this passage, and maybe even this blog post. Remember, we want people to see Jesus in us, more than they see us. Be honorable and dignified, sensible, and spiritually healthy.
- Worthy of respect.
RESPECT: A person held in high or special regard : esteem : the quality or state of being esteemed. (Merriam-Webster)
2 Peter 3:14 tells us to “give diligence that you may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in the sight of people.” Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without complaining and disputing that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life”
Teachers, have as your state of mind that you want your students to respect you; to want them to be like you in their heart. This is an incredible responsibility because your words and actions need to be worthy of their respect. How do you do that? Paul says by holding fast to the Word of Life!
- Self controlled.
Restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires. (Merriam-
Remember we Christians are to let our mind control our emotions, not the other way. 1 Peter 1:13 tells us to “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind.” Here is how we do this:
1) Be careful what you think. (biblical thoughts) (Phil. 4:8)
2) Be self controlled, don’t give way to wrong desires, and control your imagination.
3) Study the Bible daily, then live what you learn from the Bible.
4) Watch where you put your hope. (if it disappoints you, it’s the wrong hope)
5) Be determined to do what is right. (Col 3:23-24: whatever you do, do heartily as if to the Lord and not to men.)
6) Develop a hatred for sin.
7) Live here like a stranger. (our home is in Heaven)
8) Love one another deeply, from your heart and mind. (love intentionally)
- Sound in faith
We already covered that “sound” means free from problems or defect, and therefore “sound in faith” means Teachers (and all Christians) are to be free from problems with their Christianity. They must be solid in their faith. They must have good biblical knowledge, be able to counsel students on biblical matters, (or know when they should refer the student to someone that can better help the student, and know who that is) and they must know what it means to act like Christ. Above all, a Teacher should be sound enough in their faith that they teach as Jesus would have. By that, I mean with the attributes of Jesus such as humility, calmness, patience, unselfishness, confidence, and with a servant mindset.
The Christ like attributes that teachers should have are very important. I have found, from my own observations of the teachers at the Christian school I am involved with, that the most effective teachers are those that are humble, unselfish, patient, and gladly serve their students. Those that can sit down amongst the students and humbly teach on their level. Teachers that are like that, not only teach a subject, but they ensure each student has learned the subject before moving on. (And we all know different students learn differently) Those teachers also command the respect of the students, yet do so by still being close to them, or communicating with them at their level. Those Teachers relay the knowledge of the subject they are teaching, as well as any biblical passages or topics relating to that subject, because those flow out of the soundness of their faith.
Conversely, I have observed that the less effective teachers are the most prideful teachers. Those that “lord it over” their students. For example, those teachers seem to be annoyed that their students aren’t learning as fast as they should, or have little patience with them. Those teachers seem to have troubling issues about them such as the need to discipline more than usual, apathy among their students, criticism from students and parents, have lower class participation, and their students have lower grades.
Now, I don’t mean to equate spiritual maturity with the effectiveness of a teacher, but there can be a correlation there worthy of pursuit. We also must be careful to equate the students’ fondness of a teacher with the effectiveness of that teacher, but again, there could be a link there to consider. I do know some very effective and great teachers that are new Christians. I also know some great and effective teachers that are proud of their abilities and let you know them. But I know that strong, confident, humble, servant-like Teachers seem to be the most effective, and I also know that the Bible says pride is a sin…and Satan uses pride to harm Christian schooling, so keep that in mind.
A sound Christian school will have teachers that are endeavoring to be sound in faith, and teach as Jesus would have taught.
Copyright 2012 Kevin Brownlee