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Who are your teachers?

Wallace G. Smith
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My family and I watch our share of nature documentaries, and we are always entertained by scenes of newborn animals—gazelles, giraffes, etc.—struggling, mere moments after birth, to walk. As they struggle on their wobbly legs, instinct pushes them to walk and run as soon as possible, lest they fall as quick prey to predators or become a burden on their herds.

For baby humans, however, it is a totally different story. Over time, Mom and Dad coax little Sammy or little Sarah to roll over, then to crawl—eventually walking independently, on average, almost one full year after the child's birth.

God did not design humans in the same way he designed animals. While most animals are dominated by instinct, humans require teachers. Our own senses and thoughts are not enough to bring us fully into the world of adults.

As we grow, we need teachers and mentors to train us in skills and principles that we may care for both ourselves and our families.

This need is present especially in the most important area of our lives: our spiritual life.

This, too, is by God's design. When Jesus Christ began building His Church (Matthew 16:18), He and His Father designed a structure in place within it—apostles, evangelists, and other ministers and teachers—so that God's laws and way of life might be learned and communicated properly, passed down from generation to generation (Ephesians 4:11–16, Ezekiel 44:23). These ministers do not have the authority to violate the Law of God or teach their own ideas (Mark 7:6–13, Deuteronomy 12:32), but, rather they are to help those who wish to follow God in understanding His law (cf. Nehemiah 8:8) that they may follow it fully, and in unity with the rest of God's people (1 Corinthians 1:10). Without such faithful teachers, the Body of Christ would descend into disunity and chaos (Ephesians 4:13–14)—a "wild west" approach to spirituality in which everyone does "what is right in his own eyes" (cf. Judges 21:25) as opposed to the peace, order, and harmony God wants in His called-out people (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).

Seeing how dependent we are on having good teachers, we must choose them wisely! Has Jesus Christ given us any guidance in how to do this? Yes He has!

Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 7:16–20, "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."

Who have you chosen as your spiritual teachers? Are you simply picking individuals who agree with you or make you feel good? Prophecy says that this will be the dangerous tendency of people at the end of the age (2 Timothy 4:3). Rather—whether they agree with our own ideas or not—are we comparing the fruits of our prospective teachers to the fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) and examining them in the light of God's laws (Isaiah 8:20)?

The world, especially since the invention of the Internet, offers us teachers galore from all three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly! As important as they will be to our lives, and the lives of those we care about, are we taking the advice of Jesus Christ to heart and choosing them wisely?

If you would like help in looking through the confusing fog that surrounds us, even in what is called "Christianity," to identify the teachers God is actively using today to train His people for a future so awesome you could hardly imagine it, check out our free booklet on Restoring Original Christianity. And choose carefully.

  Originally Published: 21st August 2010