Part of my job as a youth intern is teaching youth group Sunday school. Today, I finished a three week series on the topic of faith and works. The first week was very topical, and the last two weeks were spent going through and discussing the first chapter of James verse by verse. In going through the text, I had a lot of good discussion with students about interpretation and application. Above all, I learned a ton in my preparation for these lessons, as I read through James and tried to understand as much of it as deeply as I could in order to feel prepared for questions from curious teenagers.
I’ve mentioned before how much my students teach me about service, positive attitudes, and my faith; but this week, God taught me in a new way.
I wish I could teach Sunday school every day of the week because I have found that I most intentionally read my Bible when I am preparing to teach it. I don’t mean I’m more diligent about the actual sitting down and reading, but rather that when I read, I am more intentional about understanding, seeking God, and looking for practical application. That last point is extremely important because if there’s one thing teenagers need in a Sunday school lesson– or any Bible lesson– it’s practical application. I think going to school for 7 hours five days a week desensitizes our kids from the idea of taking in information and applying it. They know how to listen in order to pass a test, but don’t let what they know bleed into their lives.
The realization of this was one of the main things that played into my choosing of James for my series. I knew God was telling me that these kids need to know that what they do does matter; and though their salvation is from faith alone, their works are proof of it, and the best way to witness to those around them.
Another thing I learned from James is that sometimes Christians need to be reminded about the basis of the faith they claim to live by. James wrote his letter to a group of people who had been following God for generations, but he chooses to remind them that they don’t deserve their salvation, that God is not pleased by their sin, and that faith without works is dead. Though this post may seem somewhat like a ramble, I like to think of it as more of a collection– a collection of the little reminders God has sent my way this week. I hope He uses what I write to remind you of His truth as well.