Forced to Draw Near
WHAT had I gotten myself into? I wasn’t sure I was up for the challenge. I sat on the floor of our unfurnished apartment, back up against the wall (literally), textbooks sprawled open in front of me. It was where I sat every evening as a newlywed, preparing to face my class the next day. If my students only knew how unqualified I really was!
The position I was hired for months previously fell by the wayside. At the last minute, the teacher I was to replace rescinded her retirement date. I had a signed contract but no job in my field. The only opening was in 7th grade math and science. They couldn’t have had a worse candidate! I knew nothing about the new math of that day; science was not my forte; and 7th grade was not my favorite age group. I was 22 years old, often asked for a hall pass, and accused of looking too young. One parent actually told me my youth was the reason his son didn’t do his homework and created a continual raucous in the classroom. I frequently left school in tears because I didn’t know how to handle the students or the subject matter.
My first teaching assignment was a season of stretching and testing. I studied continually and prayed for wisdom, drawing closer to God than ever before. This was a time I learned to abide in Him. To ask for God’s help. To get the mind of Christ about unruly students. To take Him into the classroom as I tried to teach what I learned the night before. The Lord used this challenging season of life to deepen my dependency on Him. I had never needed Him more. And you know what? It ended up being a pretty good year. I made it through with His help, growing to love my students…and I think they loved me. In fact, the little sweethearts bought me a gift at the end of the school year. A figurine of a red-headed boy holding candy and a bouquet of flowers. It holds a place of honor in my home even today, reminding me of the year I desperately needed God’s help…and He gave it to me.
Read I Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.”
1. What does Christ become to us when we are “in Him?”
Read I Corinthians 2:16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
2. What are those who are “in Christ” able to possess?
Read Proverbs 3:13-18 “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand. In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”
3. How valuable is godly wisdom? What does it provide?
Read James 3:15-17 “Such wisdom does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is firstof all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
4. Note what characterizes worldly wisdom.
5. How different is the wisdom found in Christ?
Can you see the value of abiding in Christ! We all need wisdom in this life, but it matters where we get it. Wisdom from the world is useless in the long run, as it results in envy and selfish ambition. We have a great checklist in these verses to help us determine whether we are abiding in Christ and thereby moving in His wisdom or following after that of the world. If you’re not sure, learn to abide. Read the Word. Pray. Stay close to the Lord, and He will give you everything you need for this life…especially wisdom.