“But we’re the dumb class.”
I had heard some of the students say it the previous year, and now I was hearing it again. In the eighth grade, they had been separated from the Honors class, and now in the ninth grade, they were separated from eighth-graders who were taking the same high school course they were.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!~2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
For three years, I had instructed this same group of students—and was now beginning my fourth year with them. They were good kids, just not highly motivated. They had the ability to master the material, but chose not to, except on occasion. When they knew a good grade meant passing for the nine weeks. When Mom and Dad had climbed on their heads about their grades. A good group of mostly boys, just not academically minded.
This particular year, I would teach them literature in addition to grammar. They hated grammar—three years of teaching them had shown me that—but I thought they might enjoy literature. We could discuss. Relate things to life. I was both right and wrong. They liked the discussion part…but hated the learning part. Some failed to understand they had to read the stories to discuss them intelligently.
As I passed out the second literature test of the year, I told them how well the eighth graders had performed on the same test. That’s when one of the students reminded the class that they were the dumb class. They doubted their ability. They doubted their self-worth. Little did they understand they were charting a path they had control over—a path that would take them in the wrong direction in life, not just academically. Intelligence wasn’t the issue. Motivation was.
Listening to students put themselves down discourages a teacher. Listening to anyone else do it should upset us, too. Paul reminds us of what happens when we trust Christ as our Savior. He gives us a new nature. The old takes flight; the new lands. God squashes the old sinful nature and replaces it with a new nature.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.~1 Peter 2:24 NLT
Sometimes, we forget who we are in Christ. We have no reason to let pride reign in our life, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Doubt…low self-esteem—keeps us from taking the next step and trusting God. We get down on ourselves, and this always leads us down in other ways: depression, unemployment, fickle relationships, loneliness. Sometimes even suicide.
In Christ, God clothes us in His righteousness, giving us what we don’t deserve but at the same time what should change our outlook on life. God calls us to fulfill His plan and purpose. He has a reason for our existence. Faith in a loving God prompts us to seize the day—not doubt.
I keep hoping that one day the students who look down on themselves will change their attitude—about themselves and their purpose.
Never doubt God’s love and that He has a purpose for you. With faith and humility, take hold of His plan.
Father God, help us never to doubt Your love or Your ability to take us where You have planned.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Copyright 2021: Never Doubt: Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Martin Wiles is an author, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina.
He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized devotion site, Love Lines from God.
Wiles is an administrator, editor and devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More. He is the co-editor of Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships, Volume Two (VineWords Publishing).
Wiles is the managing editor for Christian Devotions, the senior editor for Inspire a Fire, and a proof editor for Courier Publishing. He has also served as web content editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Wiles has authored A Whisper in the Wood: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World(Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God, and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), Don’t Just Live…Really Live (Ambassador International), and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships, Volumes One and Two (VineWords Publishing).
He has served as regional correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum.
Wiles has been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, Stand Firm, The Banner, Relevant, and Lutheran Digest.
He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, and Vine Words: Devotions and More, and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal.
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Managing Editor, Christian Devotions
Senior Editor, Inspire a Fire
Proof Editor, Courier Publishing
On the Web: Love Lines From God