Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)

I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I punched through a board in Tae Kwon Do class. I was sure I’d bruise my knuckles and embarrass myself, but the wood yielded like paper beneath my fist. My instructor just smiled.

“See, you’re more powerful than you thought,” he said. “But remember: power means responsibility.”

James wants aspiring teachers to think hard about that too. God judges teachers against a higher standard because they exercise formative influence over their pupils. Teachers face the same temptations as everyone else, but when they fall into serious sin or err in their doctrine, they become stumbling blocks for their students as well.

That’s why we who teach in our congregations must respect the fact that we’re dealing in matters of eternal significance. Without reverent humility and penetrating self-examination, we risk mishandling the awesome power of God’s Word and hurting those we’re called to serve. Meanwhile, believers who don’t teach ought to intercede in prayer for those who do. Even our most gifted teachers easily succumb to pride and burnout.

Breaking that board was both exhilarating and humbling. It taught me the importance of controlling my punches to avoid accidentally hurting someone. Our teaching ministries deserve similar introspection, but it shouldn’t take a broken heart or fractured relationship for us to get serious about responsibly handling God’s Truth.

Today, pray by name for two or three teachers in your church

Johnathan Kana lives with his wife and two children in rural central Texas. When he’s not writing, he enjoys playing piano and composing music.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.