Jesus said, "If I'm not doing the works of the Father, don't believe me. But if I am doing them, well-even if you don't believe me, believe the works! That way, you will know and grasp that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father." John 10:37-38
John started his gospel by explaining to us that "nobody has seen God. The only-begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father—has brought him to light." John 1:18
So, how can anyone recognize the "works of the Father," whom they have never seen or known before Jesus?
There is one thing, at least, that Israel has known about God from the beginning: He is the creator and life-giver of all things. The first thing that Israel taught her children about their God is the creation story in Genesis. God's central identity is Creator and Sustainer of life.
Therefore, while nobody has ever seen God, Israel was nevertheless able to recognize the works of their God. Jesus healed bodies, minds, cast out demons, and raised the dead. Jesus gave life and sustained life. Jesus did the works of the Father.
We ought to apply this standard to our teachers in the faith: "if I am not doing the works of the Father, don't believe me." We are all mixed bags, so to speak, because we all fail in many ways. Nevertheless, a good teacher or leader in Christ will produce the life-giving, life-sustaining fruit of Christ. Our teacher's home should be happy, and his relationships should be healthy. His holiness should be genuine, and His humility abundant.
Nobody succeeds on all fronts at all times. I am not suggesting that we utterly reject a teacher if they have failings. If that were the case, we would have no teachers in the world.
We might excel in one area, say, holiness, for example. A man may be very disciplined, conscientious, and trustworthy. As a result, they can be trusted with money or relied upon for keeping their word or working hard. We should emulate character of this kind. But if the same man is unforgiving or unapproachable so that his relationships fail. We must reject his example in that regard.
"If I'm not doing the works of God, don't believe me."
We must study history and look at the lives of those who have gone before us. Where did they succeed? We can and should emulate them in these areas. Where did they fail? We should take note and avoid the same mistakes.
The faith of our fathers is so important. Their successes and failures have much to teach us. We don't have to reinvent the wheel by living as though all our thoughts must be original and independent. My Dad used to say, "Only God is original," and I think he borrowed that line from someone else. Only God is original and independent.
We are not independent. So let's learn from the success and failures of those who have gone before us. Let's acquire a good collection of teachers who share their best with us and warn us through their failures.