The Redemptive Gift of Teacher Stronghold and the Teacher’s Natural Strength
The Redemptive Gift of Teacher Stronghold occurs from a misuse of their natural strength. Teachers naturally operate by logic. Life for them is a logical equation. They have a tremendous amount of patience to research the principles that make things work.
Whereas the prophet is after heart motives and points out sin with a desire to see people’s hearts change, the teacher will actually be the one who will work patiently with a person and coach them through the steps of the heart change. A prophet on a city council may intuitively know that attracting certain business to a blighted downtown area will revitalize it, but a teacher will work out logically every step required to make it happen.
The Redemptive Gift of Teacher Stronghold
The stronghold occurs from a wrong relationship with knowledge and logic. A teacher will bond more easily with information and data than with people.
There are 3 vulnerabilities common to man:
- To promote ourselves
- To protect ourselves
- To provide for ourselves
If the teacher is feeling vulnerable and needing to protect his heart, he will gravitate to relying on his natural strength. He lives in his intellect. His gifting then flows in his own strength for his own benefit.
Teachers understand that knowledge is power. John Calvin is a good example of a teacher gift. His book, Institutes of the Christian Religion, shows his “teacherness” even in its title. These institutes are provided as a way of keeping the church pure, on track, and acceptable to God. Precepts of truth are to be a guidance to love, not its replacement. The stronghold of knowledge always involves exclusivity, ie, those who have knowledge are acceptable and those who don’t are shunned. This is espoused in Calvin’s doctrines of depravity and predestination. It’s not that these ideas lack truth, but rather are used wrongly. Knowledge is not what keeps us safe, faith in God’s love as our anchor does.
Calvin’s book vigorously attacked the teachings of those he considered unorthodox. The book expressed an “us versus them” mentality in its premise – here’s that exclusivity. Calvin was even complicit in the execution of Michael Servetus who he believed adhered to false doctrine. And lest we forget, Calvinism is not The Gospel. It is simply writings by a man.
The Pharisees in the Bible are another excellent example. They understood standards that would keep their religion intact against outside influences and yet always missed the heart of God to the point of crucifying the very Savior sent for them.
We All Battle
We can all battle a wrong use of knowledge at some level. Consider the saying, “He’s a ‘know-it-all’.” It speaks of pride and arrogance based on some knowledge that one person has who he thinks others do not have.
There’s a concept in psychology called compartmentalization. It’s a defense mechanism where concepts are kept in different mental boxes as an attempt to reduce anxiety over different conflicting ideas. This is another way of describing a legalist. The Pharisees believed no work could be done on the Sabbath, no exceptions. There’s a box; don’t think out of it. Love for others had nothing to do with how this belief was upheld, it simply was a box for them to stay safe and feeling in control.
Again, this is something we can all do on occasion when feeling vulnerable. Many conversations reveal this. You express an opinion to someone on a certain subject and if the person you’re sharing with thinks differently and lacks basic trust in God’s love, they’ll struggle to show acceptance to opposing ideas and will respond with their “box” on the subject. It’s like a script, or set of scripts they always parrot when the subject is triggered. Boxes block true heart-to-heart exchange. This unfolds the teacher stronghold we all must overcome to be successful in using knowledge rightly – for the benefit of others.
Boxes are an attempt to protect our hearts and get our needs met in our own strength when trusting God’s love is deficient.
Standards are important when used rightly. The third compound name of God is Jehovah Nissi, God, our Banner or Standard. However, knowledge standards can never replace relationship. Teachers battle this stronghold the most, but anyone can battle this at times.
Next week will look at the Redemptive Gift of Exhorter stronghold.