Skip to main content

I need pictures!

We humans have a variety of "learning" styles.  Some of us need visual input in order to grasp something, while others can simply read the instructions and get it perfectly.  Maybe this is why some of those "some assembly required" items we purchase come with both written and pictorial instruction sheets!  Whenever I get one which is just written, with no pictures at all, I sigh and dig into the "reading".  I "can" learn how to put the thing together from the "reading", but the "picture" would have made it a whole lot faster!  


Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.  (I Timothy 4:12 The Message)


Paul is instructing Timothy, a relatively young believer, how to "teach" with his life.  In essence, he is telling him to make accommodations for the various "learning" styles of individuals!  Some will learn about Christ in what you say, others in how you live.  One is the word alone - the other is the illustration (the pictures to follow!).


Teach with your life.  Did you ever stop to consider the "lesson" being taught by your life?  In my own experience, I am often amazed at just how many people are watching my steps.  As a mother, I expected my children would watch the steps, but did I expect younger mothers to be watching?  Not really.  Yet, this is a principle taught in scripture - the more "experienced" helping the "inexperienced" to gain the knowledge they need.  Paul outlines several components of "teaching" which we need to be familiar with:


1.  We teach with our words.  Uh oh!  Now I have gone to meddling, right?  What we speak carries meaning - even carelessly spoken words.  Whenever we respond "flippantly" or without much thought, we are never fully appreciating the "lesson" being learned by another.  I was taught "children are to be seen and not heard" - how about you?  What a tragedy!  Some of the most awesome lessons I learned came when my own kids spoke truth which opened my eyes to my own short-comings.  When they were open enough with me to share how disappointed they were with my critical or impatient response to them, I learned to alter my response!  Words indeed speak volumes - the message we convey must be trustworthy and aligned with the Word of God.


2.  Instruct with your demeanor.  In simplest terms, demeanor is your conduct.  How you "behave" is similar to the illustrations in the instruction booklet you utilize in assembling something.  What Paul is referring to here is the actual "doing" of the Word - living out your faith.  Much more is spoken in an action than in a word.  Our pastor says love is a verb - it is an action.  No amount of "I love you" responses speak louder than one selfless action!  Think about it - God could have stayed in heaven, telling us over and over he loved us - but in the spreading of his arms out on the cross, the action spoke intense love!


3.  Learning comes when actions stimulate the heart.  Since love is an action, the emotion is stimulated by the actions of love.  We often think of the mind as being stimulated to learn - I think the greatest learning comes when the heart finally makes a connection with the mind!  Love is "learned" when the heart is touched through the actions of the mind, will, and emotions!  


4.  How does one teach with his/her faith?  Paul instructs Timothy to teach others through his faith - so understanding this seems critical to us learning how to be good "teachers", as well.  Let me say this - the connection made between what is "believed" and what is "practiced" is probably what is referred to here.  It is never enough to say we "believe".  In fact, we go through times when our "belief" is put to the test!  Sometimes more is spoken in our ability to look beyond the immediate display of "circumstantial evidence".  "Circumstantial evidence" is what we see on the surface of the challenge - "faith" is what we believe in and who we believe will bring us clarity in the midst of the challenge.


5.  Lest Paul overlook the "consistency" thing - he adds to let a life of integrity be a tool to instruct others.  Nothing does more to discredit an individual than to live a life of inconsistency.  What we say should match what we do, what we believe should guide us in how to behave, and how we are loved should influence how others experience love through us.  More is learned in the transparency of consistent living than in all the words we can speak or pen.


Just some lessons on the importance of "teaching" with our lives.  Never can tell when you will be the focus of someone's "learning opportunity" this week! So, live well!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Hey, friend me!

When we really determine to walk the pathway of a disciple, it will cost us. The pathway is not always traveled by as many of those we call "friends" as we'd like to think. Yet, when we find someone to travel with us in this journey of faith, what a blessing it is! We need each other to understand and fulfill God's calling on our lives. We each compliment the other, challenging and uplifting, learning together what is contained deep in the Word of God.

Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you. I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense. And these God-chosen lives all around—what splendid friends they make! (Psalm 16:1-3)

David's words ring true in the hearts of many who engage in this walk of discipleship with Christ - without you, God, absolutely nothing makes sense at all. We can attempt to make sense out of tragedy, loss, or even a success all on our own. Without God, and those he places in our lives as fellow travelers…