I truly delight in teaching. The saying goes that the best teachers must be even better students, so perhaps much of the pleasure I derive from teaching comes from learning the content itself. I enjoy the learning process from start to finish, and love when a student experiences the same joy of learning. But in teaching, I’ve had students fall asleep in class, neglect homework assignments, and fail seemingly easy tasks. So the question is, how can there be such a disconnect between a teacher who delights in the content and study at hand and her somewhat disengaged students? Could it be that at times students don’t derive the same pleasure from learning as does the teacher from teaching? Why is that?
In an article by Professor Jill Riddell, she writes, “The importance of delight cannot be understated in the process of transformative teaching and learning. . . . We ask one another and ourselves how we know the world and how we can live delightfully, courageously, and responsibly within it.”
And Yale professor and psychologist Paul Bloom states, “When we get pleasure from something, it's not merely based on what we see or what we hear or what we feel. Rather, it's based on what we believe that thing to be.”
Beliefs and Knowledge Matter
These authors seem to be implying that the missing link between an enthusiastic teacher and a disengaged student is delight. And not only that what we’re studying makes us feel a certain way, but that we believe a certain way about it! Therefore, a concerto violinist performing on stage in Carnegie Hall receives roaring applause from adoring fans but goes ignored when he appears in street clothes and plays at the subway (Joshua Bell). Perceptions and beliefs matter. If we believe we are the people of God and our identity is in Christ, why is it we so often find ourselves in the seats of the disengaged students? If we believe God is who he says he is and that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, shouldn’t we find ourselves filled with delight in him? Though we are called to delight ourselves in him and his word, we often find ourselves lacking joy and gratitude. Why?
I agree with Bloom’s assertion that the more we know about something the more we value it. In another interview, he claims the key to living with more pleasure is to study more. . . . the key to enjoying art isn’t to look at or buy a lot of art but to learn about it. When one understands who created it, how it was created, the time invested, and the value assigned to a work, one treasures that piece much more than if he were to unknowingly stare at it on a museum wall. So can the same be said about delighting in God and his word? That by studying God’s word we will come to know he who created, how he has been faithful in his steadfast love to his people, and that he values us so much that he sent his son to die for us? Can we, by studying, truly derive pleasure from his word, his commands, his decrees? Do we lack joy and gratitude simply because we do not know well our Maker and his word?
Psalm 119 is exceptional in its praises of God’s word. All but two of the 176 verses contain some sort of description of God’s word, and at least nine verses mention the psalmist’s delight in it.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
By delighting in God’s word, we begin to delight in him. We learn who he is as we see his sovereignty, mercy, and steadfast love on display. Over and over his song of redemption plays out through his word and culminates in the saving acts of his son. And so, as God’s people, as Restoration women, we move forward into study of his word, we press into knowing him better and delighting in him, praying together with the psalmist,
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Ladies, I hope you will join us in our upcoming study of Colossians, starting on July 19. Come see how the superiority and sufficiency of Christ changes every aspect of how we live. Come delight in learning more about our savior and king!
And don’t miss out on an outstanding opportunity this fall as we head to Country Lake Christian Retreat in southern Indiana for our first Restoration Women’s Retreat. Wife, mom, and speaker Laura White will point us to the word as it reveals the hope God has given his people in the past, present, and future. This will be a relaxing time to renew your spirit and experience authentic community with your Restoration sisters as we delight ourselves in who he is. Click here to register today.
- Morgan Zoeller -