“Let your work appear to your servants, and your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalms 90:16-17
“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29
As educators, we often view professional development in terms of attaining outstanding credentials, advanced academic degrees, excellent research and so on. While academic achievement and training is important, we should also connect our professional development with striving to grow in Christ. This is the most vital part of professional development for the Adventist teacher.
Growing professionally in Christ means to develop a deep and intimate relationship with Him. Becoming closer to Christ will naturally help us to grow a Christlike character, with temperance in all things, a positive attitude, wisdom, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to connecting with Christ more deeply, there are a number of specific qualities of Christ that we should strive to develop, such as strong ethics (Philippians 4:8), perseverance (2 Peter 1:5-11), being industrious (Ecclesiastes 9:10), excellence (Philippians 1:9-10), love (1Thessalonians 4:1), humility, trust, and wise use of time.
Although these can be difficult qualities to develop, we can develop them with Christ’s help. Here are a few basic principles that can guide our striving toward growing as professionals in Christ:
- Remember that developing skills requires time and patience. As the Bible reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a time for everything. We can only grow by setting aside time for the things that are important, and by continuing to work on them patiently even when it takes longer than we would like.
- Nourish your mind by reading the Bible and quality Christian literature. 2 Peter 3:18 notes that it is essential for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
- Focus on showing love and care to others above all else. Strive to show the characteristics of love to all around you (1 Corinthians 13)
- Have a true desire to grow in Jesus. 1 Peter 2:2 urges us to “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
All Christian professionals are chosen by God to grow in Him and to serve the dying world. Ideally, we are growing in Him in all aspects of our lives: spiritually, academically, psychologically and throughout our lives. We should strive to continually gaze upon the life of Christ and keep following His precepts and growing in His grace until He comes again and takes us to His heavenly University.