walk in the word
Category: Spiritual Life
If you had a hole in your gas tank, it wouldn’t be long until you investigated why your tank is always empty.I just filled up, you say. Why am I drained again? The same thing happens in our Christian lives. We get filled up with great Bible studies and sermons and we think we’re good for the long haul. But not far into the trip, we’re out of gas. Completely drained. What happened?
I believe one reason our spiritual strength drains quickly out of our lives is because we hoard it. That’s right—sounds like the opposite would be true, but it’s not. If we keep everything we gain in the Christian life to ourselves, we end up running out of gas. The apostle Paul mentions a bunch of reasons why we get spiritually exhausted in 2 Timothy 2, but let’s focus on just one. I’ll call it: “The Teacher Transfer Principle.” Here it is: I must transfer the truth I’ve learned to others or it will drain away my spiritual strength.
Paul tells Timothy: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Let’s take this a phrase at a time. Paul says, “What you have heard from me.” When people were learning Scripture in New Testament times, they didn’t have CDs or sermon notes. They didn’t even have a copy of God’s Word. When someone taught them God’s truth, they had to listen very carefully. Think of the responsibility God places on us who have incredible access to the truth of God’s Word!
Notice what Paul says next: “What you have heard from me . . . entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This is the heart of the “Teacher Transfer Principle”—taking the things we are taught and teaching them to others. Do you do that? Or do you just keep what you’re learning to yourself and eventually just forget about what you’ve learned? If you do, spiritual strength is draining from your life.
Understand this, loved one. You can’t just keep gathering and gathering information. You’re not going to grow unless you take what you’ve learned and share it with others. If you keep hoarding it, those truths don’t give you strength; they drain your strength. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:39, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Proverbs 11:24 says that “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty” (NKJV).
The way to grow spiritually is not to pack every study, every sermon, every lesson you can into your skull. You might think you are some great Bible scholar but really you’re just a big, fat, Bible-head. Some of the most spiritually weak people I know have more Bible information in their cranium than anyone around. But they can’t face temptations or they can’t weather even the smallest storm because they haven’t been passing along to others what they’ve learned. You’ve got to transfer truth to others in order for it to make a difference in your own life.
Do you take sermon notes when your pastor preaches each week? What do you do with them afterward? Do you have a big pile in your desk drawer? Do you paper your walls with them or use them to start fires? How about this— find someone that next week and, in Paul’s words, entrust to them what you have learned. Maybe write them a letter or email. Maybe talk with them about what you’re learning in your Christian life over lunch or in a phone call. How about it?
If you don’t, do you know what you are in danger of becoming? The Dead Sea.
A few miles south of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth—1476 feet below sea level. Six and a half million tons of water flow into it every day from the Jordan River. But the Dead Sea has no outlet. Everything flows in—nothing flows out. Because of that, the water has become incredibly salty and absolutely nothing can live there. No plant life can exist. If a fish flows into the Dead Sea, it dies almost immediately. The whole thing is completely dead.
A lot of Christians are just like the Dead Sea; stuff flows into them like crazy, but nothing flows out. Maybe that’s the reason why many don’t have a clue what it means to live in the Lord’s strength. Again, it’s the Teacher Transfer Principle—you must transfer what you learn to others.
Isn’t that always the way it is in the kingdom of God? Things are exactly opposite what they are in the world. The world says the way to get ahead is to gather big piles and keep them all to yourself. But in the kingdom of God, the way to get more is to give more away.
If you apply what you are learn and pass it along, you will experience a fresh infusion of the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Merely reading this will do nothing for you. But if you do it, you will gain God’s strength.
Now, what are you going to do about it?
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