The following is a writing assignment I gave to my eighth grade theology class. We are studying Biblical Theology, and have been looking at the Fall of Man. The Fall of Man impact all of the fundamental relationships of man: toward God, toward Creation, toward Man. Instead of showing gratitude toward God, sin causes man to be thankless and independent toward God. Instead of working the Creation to bring it to fullness, sin causes man to be lazy and self-serving in his labor. Instead of showing honor toward men, serving the good of the other before oneself, sin causes man to envy the good of his neighbor and seek to magnify his own good at the expense of others. Given the reality of sin, how does the Christian prepare for victory against the enemies of the Flesh, the Accuser, and the World? The following assignment aims at finding answers to that question.
Identifying the Enemy and Strategizing for Victory
- Write as many ways as you can imagine that a child is tempted to turn away from God in the three fundamental relationships of man:
- Gratitude toward God
- Work to Creation
- Honor to Man
- Begin writing the ways one could go about defeating each temptation (what thoughts, what prayer, what actions, etc.)
- Complete three temptations and three tactics of response at a time.
- As a teacher I am tempted toward ingratitude toward God by complaining about how little time I have to complete my job.
- As a teacher I am tempted toward laziness toward Creation, by choosing to read for pleasure rather than grade student papers.
- As a teacher I am tempted toward impatience with my students by not reviewing material they have not learned well.
Tactics of Response:
- To defeat ingratitude about how little time I have, I can remember that all circumstances are from God, who promises the power to obey in all my responsibilities without having to control all the outcomes myself. I can offer a prayer thanking God for the promise of help and asking Him to help my to be wise with the time I am given. I can then consider what are the priorities of the work I have, and make a plan to complete each priority in order of importance.
- To defeat laziness in grading I can remind myself that the pleasures of leisure are made sweeter by the labors of work, and I can “go to the ant” and "consider the field of the fool" so that I see the destruction that laziness brings. I can offer a prayer thanking God for the chance to help my students grow in knowledge and wisdom and their skill in writing. I can then plan to work for thirty minutes of uninterrupted grading before taking any sort of rest, then take a five-minute rest of stretching & drinking water, and then work for an additional thirty minutes, and so on until I am finished grading.
- To defeat impatience toward my students’ ignorance I can remind myself of God’s long-suffering toward my own ignorance in the many things He has said to me in His Word, but which I have not yet learned. I can also remind myself that learning truth is an everlasting activity that is worth every moment of effort. I can offer a prayer thanking God for revealing truth to man that brings life, joy, and communion with God and man. I can then assess what barriers may be causing my students ignorance, and strategize ways of helping them discover the truth that they are missing.