Trying to teach someone how to do something that you do not do does not make much sense. I would never attempt to teach someone how to fly an airplane because I do not know how to pilot a plane. If you have never played guitar, it is likely you won’t take time today to teach someone how to play. We teach people things we know. We teach people things we do.
One of the easiest ways that I learn is by doing. I am a hands-on person so when I am trying to learn something, it is important that I learn by doing. What helps as well is seeing someone else teach by example. In the time of how-to videos, I’m sure you or someone you know is keen on watching instruction videos to help learn how to knot a tie or make a new recipe.
When teaching and leading others, we must be aware of the example we leave. That is the biggest lesson we provide. People watch what you are doing and hear what you are speaking. Any inconsistencies between what you say and what you do will be noted. If the words you speak and the actions you take do not line up well, your teaching and leading will not be very effective. Be transparent. Be consistent. Teach and lead by example.
“Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.” – Romans 2:21-23 [NLT]
As I have aged, I realized the great blessing of being disciplined. When younger, the word discipline was a cruel one we tried to avoid. No one likes discipline. We do not usually request or desire discipline. Discipline is punishing someone to correct poor behavior or disobedience. Discipline trains people to be obedient people.
The Bible tells us that anyone God disciplines is “blessed” or “joyful.” The world looks at the discipline of the Lord as wrath and usually describe it as harsh and unreasonable. As a child of God, hopefully you understand that God disciplines us as a father disciplines a child. It is for our own good. Discipline helps us to grow. Discipline protects and teaches us. Discipline is a blessing.
Today, thank the Lord for His instruction. Thank Him for His discipline. Thank Him for seeking the best for you. Thank Him for His love. Praise Him for He alone is good, and He alone deserves all honor, glory, and praise. I pray that you are joyfully disciplined.
“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” – Psalm 94:12 [NLT]
“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good. So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.” – Deuteronomy 8:5-6 [NLT]
Timothy is told to pass on what was taught to him by the Apostle Paul. When we are taught something, we aren’t supposed to keep it just for ourselves. Paul was pouring a wealth of teaching upon Timothy. He was sharing great insight into the ministry of the Good News. He wanted this teaching to continue to pour out from Timothy to others. This is how the spread of the Gospel works. Ministry is a team effort.
If you look at the Early Church, you will find that those who were intimately involved with Jesus Christ during His early ministry rose up to spread the Good News. After his conversion, Paul did the same. Many of these people had small groups meeting together, sharing together, doing life together. This Good News was then spread by these people to others. As it was shared to some, it was passed on to many others. People were being equipped and empowered.
Too often we get caught up in thinking that the people in our lives will hear the Gospel from some pastor at a local church or on television. We think that ministry is all about someone speaking to the masses. But the Bible shows us that the Early Church spread the Gospel not simply by speaking to large groups, but by focusing on a small group who then passed on the great spiritual truths. Do not keep what you know about Jesus to yourself. What you learn, pass on. Whether you pass it on to your family, to your friends, or you start a small group or lead or teach at church—pass it on. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share what you know, teach you more, and to show you who is ready with open ears to hear these spiritual truths.
“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2 [NLT]
We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.
When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.
This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” – Nehemiah 8:8 [NIV]
I love this scene. They were gathered together reading God’s Word, and there were actually people there trying to make sure that the people understood what was being read to them. Some people cannot read. Some people cannot understand what they read. They may pronounce the words properly. They may be able to read everything on the page, but they might not understand what they just read. The comprehension is important. The NLT says “clearly explained the meaning” and “helping the people understand each passage.” Each passage. I just love this.
It is important for us to understand what we read, whether it is a letter from our insurance provider, our bank statements, an article in the newspaper, a work memo… and it is crucial that we understand what the Bible says. We can read it every day, but we need to be able to understand it to actually apply it.
If you notice in Nehemiah 8, first they read the Law, then they interpret the Law, and then they apply the Law. This is what Bible reading is all about. This is exactly how we are to read our Bibles. First we read His word, then we see what God has to say to us in the context of the passage, and then we then apply it to our lives—we do what He says. Read – Understand – Apply! That’s why it is important that we understand. If you don’t understand, don’t hide and pretend; seek out some godly assistance, purchase a reputable Bible commentary, and pray about it. Read – Understand – Apply!
God’s word speaks a lot about obedience. We aren’t too fond of the “O” word. In Deuteronomy 4, we see everything listed for us. This passages says “hear the decrees and laws…. follow them… do not add… do not subtract from it… watch ourselves so that you do not forget… teach them to their children” (Deuteronomy 4:1-9 NIV).
As I was reading this passage today, I thought of HEART. We need to have a heart devoted to God, a heart for God, a love for God, that will cause us to do as this passage says. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (NIV). It all comes down to heart.
Having a relationship with God is not simply knowing what God’s word says, but doing what His word commands. Yes, the “O” word.
Do you have HEART?
- Hear (Listen)
- Ensue (Follow/Obey)
- Arithmetic (Don’t add or subtract)
- Remember (Keep it in your heart and head)
- Teach (Teach your children/others)
Jesus told Pilate, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth” (John 18:37 NIV). The question that Pilate and many others have asked is “what is truth?” (v. 38 NIV). The Bible mentions the word “truth” over two hundred times. God revealed truth to us through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life” (NIV).
When we read the garden scene in Genesis 3, it is quite clear that God presents absolute truth with regard to this tree of knowledge of good and evil to Adam and Eve. Satan challenges God’s truth, and deceives Adam and Eve into questioning what God says as well. Even today, Satan attempts to get us to challenge God’s Truth, to ask “did God really say” when we encounter His Truth. God’s Truth does not change; though we may attempt to misrepresent or skew His Truth, it still remains as Truth, as absolute reality. We can choose to accept His Truth and live by it, or to deny it and live as a fool, lost and wandering in search for another alternative which just is not there.
Many people will spend their lives asking the same question as Pilate, and will never get the true answer because they are seeking for answers in the wrong place. I cling to the promise found in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (NIV). Only through a relationship with God, as a result of Christ’s redemption and the working of the Holy Spirit are we able to understand Truth. If only Pilate realized that he was speaking to the Truth, he would have seen the answer was right before him.