My mind is buzzing and my heart is full as I reread my notes on the plane ride back to Texas. Revive '15 has been a conference for the books! After contemplating what it was about this conference that I enjoyed so much, I decided it was the people. With a theme of "Women Teaching Women," it would be natural for each speaker to boast in their credibility as someone who is qualified to tell others how to teach. But the aroma of humility oozed from every person I heard on the platform. And out of their own lowliness, each pointed to the sufficiency of God, not self, for the task of teaching.
It is not giftings and natural abilities and talents that we should take confidence in, but rather the power of God's Word and His Spirit.
In the speaking track, we were reminded by Nancy Leigh DeMoss that there is nothing in us that makes the teaching of the Word great. It is not giftings and natural abilities and talents that we should take confidence in, but rather the power of God's Word and His Spirit. And Trillia Newbell walked us through 2 Timothy 4:1–5 with reminders to "be ready in season and out of season" by living a life that is saturated in the Word of God, faithfully serving wherever God has called us. Even with myriads of helpful practical steps, advice, and encouragement, I left this time feeling a renewed confidence in God's ability to use broken people to teach His Word. He is sufficient!
I love that Jen Wilkin kicked off the main conference with James 3:1:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
A beautifully biblical tone was set for a conference on teaching God's Word—one of sobriety. It is a weighty and serious thing to aspire to teach the Word of God. She reminded us that words have power and teaching should be done with a balance of fear and fearlessness—fear of God and fearlessness of the unstoppable nature of God's truth. Again, we heard that "self-sufficiency has no place in the heart of a teacher."
Nancy spent two sessions discussing the need for anointed teaching. Though some avoid and some abuse this idea of anointing, she reminded us of the picture anointing was meant to communicate—bestowing the power of the Spirit onto an otherwise ordinary thing. And that is what we are, ordinary and weak. We need the power of the Holy Spirit if we hope for any lasting change to come from our teaching. We need a fresh anointing of the Spirit as we step out to teach the Word. God is sufficient for the task.
Dr. Eric Mason covered a topic that is a personal favorite of mine—the role of repentance in the life of a teacher. In walking us through Psalm 51, we see that it is after repentance that David declares "then I will teach sinners your ways." Only when our hearts are lowly and broken before Him and our sin fully exposed do we find ourselves in a healthy place to be teaching others, because it is there that we are empty of self and dependent on Him.
As we worship and adore and focus on God, we are filled with His Spirit and enabled to teach out of His sufficiency, not our own.
In his second message discussing Ephesians 5:15–20, Dr. Mason encouraged us to maximize every season the Lord gives, no matter how small, and to be filled with the Spirit. How do we get filled with the Spirit? Worship! As we worship and adore and focus on God, we are filled with His Spirit and enabled to teach out of His sufficiency, not our own.
Jen's last two sessions were blissfully practical, taking the mystery out of how to teach Bible studies. She pointed out that it is knowledge about God that fuels enjoyment of God. This is why learning about Him through the diligent study of the Bible is important. Through homework, group discussion, and teaching, we can help women learn to think, learn, and work at knowing God through the Bible. What a great reminder that it is the Word of God that changes lives, not our teaching abilities!
In a beautiful and inspiring wrap-up, Nancy sent us off with a charge to preach the Word! From 2 Timothy 3, she reminded us not to be surprised by hardship or persecution and yet to continue in what we have learned and believed! May we first and foremost be diligent students of the Word of God as we seek to live humbly and dependent on Him and then preach His Word to the women in our lives, be it two or 200. God is sufficient for the task and to Him alone be the glory!