Then I think about all my students...all 150 (give or take) that I'll soon see everyday. Students that I will have the chance to burn a lasting impression in their lives and hopefully hearts. Last year I purposed in my heart to see my students as more than just students. I wanted to see them as God would have me see them. This changed a lot of my responses and I became intentional in what I said. Many students became very dear to my heart. I even got to share the Gospel with one entire class, many of whom had NEVER heard it before...kids in our own backyard that have NEVER heard the Gospel...my classroom is a true mission field. I pray that I will see it that way everyday.
All this sounds great, but most of the time I felt that I wasn't connecting the dots so that my students would see that it was Christ in me that made the difference in my attitude. Throughout the year, I would often question myself (or was it God convicting me?), "Does so-and-so even know that I'm a Christian? Do I speak unashamedly of His love and forgiveness?" In response, I'd defend myself, "Well, can't they see the kind heart I have? Can't they see how I don't respond in anger?" But, I knew that wasn't good enough. And then, this last Sunday, God spoke through Terry (our pastor) and convicted me again! He spoke about connecting the good deeds we do with the Gospel. We have to purposefully make the connection between what we do and say with Jesus. Doing good is not the goal! Even unbelievers do good! What makes us different is the reason behind the doing good...Jesus! And if I can't help my students see that the good flows out of Christ in me, then I'm no different than an unbeliever. I pray that this year, I will be bold and courageous so that Christ will be exalted through my "doing good."