Christian education is facing a crucial and unsettling time. It has sought for years to lay a thoroughly biblical foundation for students and to impart truth on every hand. But many Christian school students are cold, and even resentful, toward that teaching. As Christian educators, we should try to bring students back to Christianity’s foundation—the truth of the gospel—so that when we address students’ behavior it is motivated by and grows out of our dedication to the gospel.
Since young people sometimes try to define truth by their own subjective perceptions, perhaps we should ask ourselves some questions about what we are teaching them. Are we teaching them the whole truth? Could we actually be dumbing down our presentation of the truth? Amid calls of “Don’t give them doctrine, make it practical!” and an obsession with “principles to live by,” have we maybe lost sight of the basics and unintentionally obscured the person of the gospel, Jesus Christ?
We often respond with more and more behavior-focused instruction when our students’ behavior seems to indicate that they do not understand Christianity. There’s a need to balance our teaching of practical do’s and don’ts with teaching Christ’s perfect sacrifice for us on the cross. Perhaps one reason the gospel has lost its wonder and richness for young people is because of our presentation of the wonderful central figure—Jesus Christ. He is sometimes overshadowed by lesser goals when He should be the focus as well as the motivator behind practical Christian living.
In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Paul also states that there were those (the Jews and Greeks) who found his preaching of Christ unacceptable. Even though the impact of Paul’s ministry on both his own generation and on every generation since is astounding, even Paul’s faithful preaching of the gospel was not welcomed by every person who heard it. The same holds true when we admonish our students. Some will accept it while others may reject the truth.
When faced with such animosity or dismissal of the truth, we may mourn our own lack of power and the great limitations of our flesh that we think make us inadequate to share the gospel that we love. We must remember that God is never frustrated or limited. His promise in Isaiah 55:11 shows that His Word is never “void.” He holds the key to our hearts and has the power to accomplish whatever He intends to—in spite of our sinful nature and wandering hearts.
God alone is able to reach our hearts and those of our students. Whatever work He intends to do in our students’ lives is not impossible. And we can help by trusting in His power, not our own, to guide us as we share His truth through our words and actions.
How do you share the Truth with your students?