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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Concept or Reality

    9Give advice to a wise person, and he will become even wiser.
      Teach a righteous person, and he will learn more.
(Proverbs 9:9)

4 Show me how you work, God; school me in your ways.
(Psalm 25:4)

There is a lot of emphasis today on getting education.  We start children in educational opportunities as early as preschool and encourage advancing our education by adding advance degrees to the end of our college days, as well.  Trade schools have risen all over the place, offering degrees to those who want to simply better themselves in one particular field of study.  Education is at a premium in our society.   Why is it then that we scoff at the wisdom God offers?

David was adamant that the one thing he wanted in his life was to know how God works - to be schooled in God's ways - not just for his benefit, but for the benefit of those he was leading.  His son, Solomon, penned the words we find in Proverbs, with an equal focus on being taught and learning what was important in life.  He also knew that learning the truths God reveals is a life-long process.

Most of us really get something when we are "shown" how something works, how it comes together.  We "get it" because we can visualize it - it moves from being a concept in our minds to be something we can interpret with our senses.  I never really "got" algebra.  I knew how to do the equations so that I solved for "x", but I never really knew the reason behind needing to figure out what "x" represented.  Algebra was a "concept", but not something I knew would "serve me" in my daily life.  

The "schooling" God affords is not "classroom time".  Yes, we have opportunities to attend Bible College, sit in Bible Study classes together, etc.  Yet, the greatest "learning" comes in the "doing" of what he teaches us in his Word.  Learning becomes reality when we are engaged in putting into practice what we have embraced as a "concept".  When we attempt to love another as God first loved us (unconditionally, even before the other person realizes the need for love in their life, etc.), we realize the difficulty in fully "learning" love simply in the "studying" about love.

The "schooling" God affords is accomplished in the "living" what we have learned.  Everything God teaches is based on "living it out" in our daily life.  Having no other God before him is lived out in the choices we make each day.  Learning how to be still and truly "know" that he is God is learned in the midst of chaos and discord.  Trusting that he will never leave you, nor forsake you, is developed in the times when we least "feel" or "see" God's presence in our midst.  His truths are made "real" in the midst of "living".

With "learning" comes accountability - we are expected to take what we have learned and "use it" in our daily living.  That is why algebra did not move from "concept" with me into "practical use" - I never realized how to use it in my daily life.  Then, one day, I needed to figure out how to make a recipe from my cookbook that fed four people into a recipe that fed 150.  All of a sudden, I was "learning" how to solve for "x"!  The concept became "practical" knowledge at that point.  As God exposes truth in our lives, we are expected to use it - taking it from "concept" and making it the guiding influence in our lives.  

God gives us much wisdom - exposing us to much truth.  Yet, truth is of no real benefit unless it influences the way we make our choices.  God's methods of "teaching" always vary depending on how we will "best learn" in the situation, but they are consistent.  His desire is to always take us from "concept" to "living".  What is God asking you to "live out" today?