Sunsets and Choices

I recently took the time to watch a stunning sunset from my beach chair, coffee in hand, sensing God’s peace and strength and wanting the moment to last so much longer.  As I took many photos, trying to capture the experience, I reflected on my choices and responses to recent challenging situations, realising that sometimes I choose to cling to God’s wisdom, sovereignty and strength and at other times it was ‘doing it on my own’. When I focused on who God is, He gave me hope, whereas the times of leaving Him out of my choices decreased my hope.  My choice to believe in Christ directly impacted my hope in God as my sustainer, provider and refresher.

How do my choices encourage or diminish my faith, my hope?

Is my worldview influenced by my faith? Is my faith the foundation of my/our worldview? Do my choices reflect what I know to be true about God? In what do I trust?

Who and what are influencing your worldview, inevitably influencing the state of your faith and hope?

Every day we tune into social media platforms for information and encouragement.  Our social media choices of who we follow, which tags we use, which entertainment provider we subscribe to and binge (eg Stan, Netflix), all subtly influence our worldview, and inevitably our faith and hope.

As Stetzer notes in his book, Christians in the Age of Outrage, “our worldview shapes us, and we shape our worldview.” (2018, p. 155)

How often do we take the time to take stock of ourselves, our thoughts, attitudes and our worldview?  Are we reflecting the Christian worldview that we ascribe to or are our responses, actions and reactions indicating a worldview which has been shaped by secular influences?

The question arises: how diligently are we applying Paul’s encouragement in Colossians 3:2?

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

and Philippians 4:8

“8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Do we see the reality of life through God’s eyes?

As teachers, we have the opportunity to be the models, or influencers of our classes.  Our speech, attitudes and behaviour model our faith and influence our students in their faith journey.  Whether our students are in Junior, Middle or Senior School, at each stage of development, we play an important role in how they see Jesus and how they grow in their faith.  Our ability to translate the hope we have in Jesus into our speech and behaviour directly impacts how our students interpret their faith relationship with Jesus and the hope that this engenders.

As teachers, we aim to equip each student with ‘Expansive Learning’, developing each students’ capacity to understand and learn, helping them to apply these skills in more than one context. (Pietsch, 2018) In the same way, teachers have the opportunity to expand the skills of expansive learning to their faith, building their capacity to apply their faith in the different situations and contexts of their lives.  Christian education by Christian teachers offers students the opportunity to grow in their faith in relation to the many life/social situations that they encounter during their years at school.  Difficult and challenging family and social situations give the students opportunities to wrestle with their thoughts, actions and attitudes for themselves in a loving community, before they branch out into the wider world of higher education and employment.  Time to grow in their faith and reflect on their relationship with Jesus is precious, and to have these opportunities during their formative years, with teachers who desire to model the life of Jesus, is priceless.

May we as teachers, to both our students and colleagues, take up these precious opportunities to teach from a Christian worldview and model and live out our faith and our hope in every context of school life. May our justice, compassion, grace and humility be evident in our classrooms, relationships, interactions and assessments.  As we think on what is true, noble, right, pure and lovely, may our sure hope be evident to all and inspirational to our students.