Have you ever wondered why God created the church to have pastors and teachers? If all believers have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then why do we need teachers? I think it would be better for each of us to hear the Word of the Lord directly from the Spirit rather than diluted and filtered through the mind, heart and mouth of a human.
I can’t help but question Him on this. I know me. I know how my preconceived ideas and prejudices effect the way I speak and relate to others. It is with fear and trembling that I stand before a group of God’s people and attempt to teach.
God in His sovereign authority has established the position of teacher in the church. Therefore we can assume that when gathered together in a corporate meeting that we can hear His voice through the teaching of these gifted ones. I can certainly testify to having been convicted and edified from the teaching of my pastors and other teachers.
I am always amazed when I hear from my own students how God had used me to speak to them. There have been times when they have repeated what was so meaningful to them and I can’t remember saying anything remotely like it. At those times I am certain God did a supernatural miracle of ventriloquism.
I am too feeble minded to argue with God, the establishment of teachers is His plan and therefore I will adhere. I am one of God’s teachers therefore I have the responsibility to become invisible. (Admit it. You thought I was going to say something like trained and educated.)
God is determined I never forget this truth by reminding me over and over it is Him and not me. The following is a personal account from a woman in a prayer group I recently lead. I share this to bless His name and to encourage other teachers to disappear in His presence.
To open the first meeting with this group, I took a few minutes to introduce what I have shared with you in these past few weeks of blogging. I knew they wanted to unite their hearts and hear from God. The church was in a time of seeking His direction in some major areas of ministry.
One of the ladies was instantly in a struggle. She wanted to run from the room. The spiritual struggle caused her to be physically ill. But she stayed still because the hand of God holding her in place was stronger than the pull of the enemy.
I closed the meeting by having the members pray the Colossians 1 prayer of Paul. While they stood holding hands and praying for each other, God moved in powerful ways. This woman felt His touch and He released her from months of bondage. She shared briefly with me before we left. We agreed to meet again in a couple of days. But before departing, I prayed specifically that God would reveal Himself to her in such power that she would know the root of the struggles.
Two days later, she visited and shared how God had indeed revealed Himself. She sat alone that night after the prayer meeting in her dark living room. As she sat there with warm tears streaming down her face, He spoke. His words were, “I AM the One.” With those few words came a flash of memories of all the times she had thanked Him for her pastor, teachers, and friends who had helped her. But He was showing her that He was the One.
He was the Only One who deserved the praise. He was the One who had spoken to her each time. He was jealous for her acknowledgment of all the tender mercies He had so passionately given her through the years. Thanking Him for the vessel implied they had something to do with it.
As she told me this story, I was overwhelmed with worship. Yes He truly is the One.
This reminded me yet again why He has always called me to pray these words before I teach, “Father, may they never remember my name or the sound of my voice. May they look back on this time and say, “Right there I encountered God and I have never been the same.”
Teachers, pastors, and worship leaders, we need to become invisible. If we are truly His mouthpiece then the people in our audience should see and hear only Him. Pray that you can disappear and He will speak boldly through you. You are only an empty vessel without Him.
Believers have the responsibility to confirm the anointing of their teacher. Never listen to a teaching that does not measure up against the Word of God. Discern their focus. Are they pointing their students to God Almighty or are their messages laced with self-centeredness? Tori and I once listened to a pastor use ‘I’ 267 times in one message. Needless to say, we never returned to that church.
Believers need to have a heart open and eager to hear from the Lord. Pray before class that God would speak to you. Pray that your heart with be open to hear and respond the second He speaks. Pray that you will not focus on the human vessel. Pray for the teacher to become invisible.
Pray for a personal encounter with God. A classroom full of seekers can become a classroom full of His Presence. All are then blessed with the sound of His voice.