A daily study in the Word of God. Simple, life-transforming tools to help you grow in Christ.
One Teacher, Multiple Lessons
When one teaches, two learn. (Robert Half)
21 Jesus and his companions now arrived at the town of Capernaum and on Saturday morning went into the Jewish place of worship—the synagogue—where he preached. 22 The congregation was surprised at his sermon because he spoke as an authority and didn’t try to prove his points by quoting others—quite unlike what they were used to hearing!(Mark 1:21-22 TLB)
They say any teacher really has to learn the subject matter prior to teaching it themselves. Does that mean I perfectly "get" every lesson down pat before I teach it and can replicate it time and time again without variation? Not hardly! It does means I learn a little more each time I teach it, though! It means I come closer to replicating the lesson without variation each time I revisit that lesson. It means there has been growth to some degree in my life. I am human, so my teaching isn't always my own - sometimes I reteach what I have learned from others - things that spoke truth into my life and helped me to grow in some area. Jesus taught from his own knowledge - because he is ALL knowledge. He surprised the people by his authority because they had never heard or seen anyone with so much "true" authority. As "ambassadors" of the message of truth God gives to each of us, we embody truth in some degree, based on how much of the lesson we have allowed to be worked out in our lives.
God's Word often "surprises us" no matter how many times we have heard or read the same passages. Why is that? I think it might just be that at certain times in our lives we are more "open" to it, seeing it through a different "lens" and therefore, we "get it" a little differently or clearer each time we are exposed to it. Does that mean the first "lesson" was not taught well? No, it just means we were open to learning it a different way, or to a different degree of understanding, the second or third or fourth time around. It doesn't make the first learning opportunity flawed in anyway because all learning is incremental. We don't become versed in quantum physics overnight! We first have to understand a little bit about particles - neutrons and protons. Then we have to understand how they react to each other, rely upon one another, act when in an electromagnetic field, etc. Right about at the point I said "neutrons and protons", I lost about half of you! Why? You have no desire or "need" to learn quantum physics!
Sometimes the lessons we are open to learning are those we need to learn the most. This is why scripture comes "alive" at times for us and at others that same passage is "good", but not as "rich" as it is when we need it most. Learning isn't about the "degree" to which we learn the lesson, it is about the openness of mind and heart to actually absorb and act upon what we are learning. The simplest lessons have been some of the richest and most meaningful in my own life. The more "grandiose" ones were good, but they didn't bring life change to the same degree some of the simpler ones did. To have learned what grace really is and what it truly does in my life - that was a harder lesson to learn, but in incremental steps, I have moved closer and closer to understanding the truth about grace. I have discovered no amount of "self effort" makes me right with God. No amount of "being good" is going to get me one step closer to heaven's doors. No "work" I do helps me overcome sin. All steps toward God are grace steps. All steps out of sin are there because God laid the paving stones of grace to help me walk away from it.
We can learn at different paces, in different seasons, and in many different ways. The way we learn isn't too different, though. It occurs when we are "opened up" to learn. Sometimes this opening of ourselves is quite natural because there is a curiosity that drives us. At others, we need a little nudging because we don't exactly see ourselves as needing that lesson. Either way, the most instrumental way we come into knowledge is by realizing the authority of the one who is teaching that lesson - Christ! Just sayin!
Steel in your convictions - what does this mean? Winston Churchill once said, "Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning." C.S. Lewis echoed his words when he penned, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn't just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. (I Thessalonians 1:3-5 The Message) God's hand is on us for something special. We serve a God who is not only supernatural, he actually influences us to move beyond the natural into the abundance of all he is! It is this very encouragement which gives us transforming power to live with courage in times of uncertainty. When God begins to pour into our lives, he is "pouring" the right stuff. This is what Paul was r
9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG) Sentimental gush - that is what I kind of feel when I watch some of those sappy "and they lived happily after" love stories. Yes, I believe people can "be in love" and that "love will find a way" and all those other cliches about love. Don't think I am down on a solidly committed and growing relationship - it is just that our world often portrays love in ways that are totally gushy and then doesn't show the very 'hard' side of that loving being vital and vibrant
But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (Romans 6:23) Have you discovered that you no longer need to listen to sin tell you what to do anymore? If you are like the millions upon millions of others who have said 'yes' to Jesus, you likely still have a bit of a struggle in this area. Sin just doesn't 'go away' when you say 'yes' to Jesus - the ability for it to control you does, but the enticement to sin is still presenting itself. The issue is not whether sin still entices, it is really an issue of which voice we will listen to the most frequently! We can listen to our own inward lusts (desires), or we can listen to the sti