Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Just one degree....

Robert Half is credited with reminding us, "When one teaches, two learn." I've said it before, we can 'learn' only so much until we match the 'learning' with 'doing'. The action of 'doing' puts into practice what we have been learning up until that point. In the 'doing' we often learn just a little bit more. Recently I decided to take up a new hobby. I finally had my workshop built and have been enjoying filling it with all manner of tools. Now, I am experimenting with this and that - until I become proficient with the tools. Let me be the first to admit - there are a few scraps in there that weren't created as 'scraps', but ended up there! I make mistakes and in the process learn a little by my 'doing' of some step that didn't work out as well as planned. The learning continues - not merely by reading, but by actually 'doing' some woodworking!

But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 MSG)

The written Word shows us how to live - it is in living that we discover how the Word is made real within us. There have been times I have been exposed to the Word in written form, taking it in, not really knowing when or where I would ever see that particular passage put into practice in my life. Then a little later, sometimes years later, I realize that scripture is 'playing out' in my life - I have the opportunity to put it into practice now. I am learning by 'doing'. This is the reason God tells us to have not only a steady 'intake' of the Word, but to hide it away within us. We are to allow it to be 'stored up' because we will certainly have future use for it! If it isn't meaning very much now to us - it will one day!

A couple of things we need to remember about the Word of God:

- It is taken in, but not without a cost. It often exposes something in us that isn't quite right. We are often caught a little off-guard whenever the scripture begins to point out something within us that has been 'tolerated' as the way things are in our lives. It is like we never knew that stuff was actually there, then one day the scripture and circumstances of our lives 'align', making us very much aware that things are just not 'right' in our lives. At that moment, scripture is convicting us - showing us where our lives have embraced folly and rebellion just a little bit too much. 

- It isn't going to affect us unless we take it in. We don't get this stuff by osmosis - it requires some attentiveness on our part. I was always amazed at the students in school who'd just sit day after day in class, daydreaming or doodling some artwork on the binder. Then came the pop quiz and they'd act all surprised that they got a failing grade on it. The evidence of their lack of attention or focus became painfully apparent. The same thing happens with us when we don't really pay any attention to the study of the Word. We need to be prepared - the pop quiz is coming!

Many times we just need a little 'shaping up' - because we haven't really been paying all that close of attention to what it is we are being taught. We need a little bit of adjustment - but it is in doing that we find the greatest opportunities for adjustment. As I put wood piece to wood piece, I realize how well I aligned that saw blade and how even those angles were cut. I actually found a previously unrecognized know at the rear of the chop saw I bought used from a neighbor. It actually was one degree off center and as a result, my cuts never perfectly were measuring up! What a difference even one degree makes! Now my cuts are spot on! I have learned to make a few adjustments and now the outcome is quite different. Similarly, we can think we are all good in life, but then we discover 'one tiny thing' that calls for just 'one degree' of adjustment - and what a difference that one degree will make in the outcome, my friend! Just sayin!