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It isn't always new - it could be unused

Get the word out. Teach all these things... Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given...keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. (I Timothy 4:11-16)

There is much to be learned, much more to be incorporated into our lives, and way more to we can become consistent in practicing than most of us really want to admit. I always say it is a good day when I have learned something new. It might just be a clever way to recycle some object into a newly purposed item for my home or garden, or something more academic which I can use over and over to solve problems. As I go about the day "learning" new stuff, when and where I choose to use this newly acquired knowledge is entirely my decision. Just because I get exposed to a truth doesn't mean it is of use - at least not until I am willing to believe it, act upon it, and stand in it fully. This is often where we fall short in the realm of moving from "learning" to the place of making the stuff we learn impact our daily practical life. A lot of times, we don't need new truth - we just need to bring out the stuff we have learned some time ago, dust it off and put it into fresh use in our lives!

The best opportunity to learn comes when we see an example of how it is we are to do something. I am self-taught in a good many things. Unfortunately, this means a lot of trial and error. It I don't put any new knowledge into regular and consistent use, we have just tucked it away without really mastering it. We often treat God's truth this way. We get exposure to it, even have someone willing to live as an example of that truth right in front of us, and then we do nothing more than "tuck it away". We have just fallen short of really "learning" the truth. How are we 'taught'? Most of the time, we find learning occurs more cy what is 'caught' than what is 'taught'. What we speak is important. What we choose to remain silent about also speaks volumes. Choosing words well, using them to encourage, building up each other unto full maturity, this is proper use of our words. Choosing words which correct may also be throwing someone a lifeline. As important as other things are in our lives, our words have to match our walk. Any amount of disconnect between what is spoken and what is lived out gives those who look upon our lives a "mark" far from mid-center at which to aim with their own actions and attitudes.

Our demeanor matters. This is nothing more than how we conduct our daily business. We can look all "put together" and "self-righteous", but when the chips are down, how we walk out the truth we proclaim to live by becomes apparent. Our behavior has to register true to the words we proclaim, otherwise the message comes across "mixed" and "impure". Genuine love looks outside of what one can "get" from a relationship and looks at what one can "give" into the relationship. There is this desire to lay it all down for another, no strings attached, not to get something from them, but because it matters that they get something instead. Our example for this is none other than Christ himself - having it all, he laid it all down, not because he had to, but because he wanted to see us get back into close relationship with God!

We get this idea of faith all trumped up in our minds and think it is something we "attain" rather than something we receive as a gift from God. We don't "pump up" faith - we have faith built in us. Faith comes by hearing - hearing by the Word of God - hearing the Good News of God's love for us and his grace toward us. What we choose to do when we hear truth determines if our faith will grow, or simply wither away. We can embrace or reject it. We can stand upon it or walk away from it. Our faith in the midst of moments of decision is based on whether we will believe what we hear! Most think of integrity as the "honesty" or "trustworthiness" of an individual. When integrity is evident, there is "unity" within the parts. A life put together by grace's touch is a testimony of vast proportion. Grace affords the means to "pull together" what life has made a mess of and when you look upon how truly awesome this "put together" life is when it is genuine, you see the beauty of God's grace in action.

We discount our ability to teach another - thinking we don't possess the "book learning" or the "theological knowledge". No amount of book learning can substitute for words which speak peace into a troubled life, reaching out to draw in those who have been rejected by others, and then living out life together with them each and every day. All God ever asks of his kids is to live as examples of his grace - pure and simple. We might "shelf" truth for a while, but when we finally bring it down of the shelf and dust it off, beginning to put it into practice in our lives, we are on a journey which will begin to speak volumes to those looking on. Just sayin!


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