Be still and know God (Psalm 46:10) means letting go of our control for His sovereign control. Why? Because…
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I discovered something early on as a new parent, long ago in a galaxy far, far away that holds true in every learning experience. What I discovered would also help me to be a better teacher of first graders, then later with other age groups. A child will not grasp what you are telling them unless you show them, step by step, how the task is done. Just watching you isn’t enough. You must talk about the steps it takes to make a bed, organize toys, fold and put away laundry, or making a sandwich along with the reasons for doing the tasks. You can tell by the look in their eyes, when they “get it”.
This begins as soon as they can walk. Toddlers will follow you everywhere anyway so teachable moments are inexhaustible. Toddlers are more moldable and willing and think what you do is amazing and fun. Take advantage of that! Ask them to join you in what you are doing. Ask questions, “what do you think I will do next?”, “what is the next step?” Doing life together shows them the value and reason behind the work that makes life better for everyone that lives in the household. The “watch me, join me, do it while I encourage, now you do it” philosophy of teaching was introduced by Jesus, our Master Teacher. His disciples carried it on in their writings.
From teaching in public school classrooms, God then called me to go into church ministry. The “classrooms” expanded to teen, young adults and older adults. The same principles of helping someone grow and mature in their walk with God apply with added nuances.
What I have learned and still learning:
- I do not have all the answers. No one does. Only God does. We will never have all the answers, only God knows all, is in all because He created all. (See our previous chapter 11 in Romans!)
- We can only take people where we have walked. We can only go as far in our teaching about God as far as we have been in our own learning.
- We cannot tell people to spend time with God each day, if we are not willing to do so.
- We cannot ask people to do what we are not willing to do.
- We do need to be authentic, venerable, and trustworthy. When trust is gone, teaching ceases.
- When we cease to learn, we cease to be teachers.
- We must lay our lives before God as an offering to Him each day. This is where it all begins.
Paul spent eleven chapters telling us WHO we are in Christ. Now he teaches all of us who believe what we must DO in Jesus Name, for His glory. We all have a “part to play” in the God’s Kingdom. Paul now takes us on a journey in the subsequent chapters with step by step, simple, understandable instructions with how to live as believers together in Christ.
Friends, so we don’t miss the significance of this powerful instruction for living life in the most excellent way, we will take this in two smaller bites. This is part one of two. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I have used this passage many times in teaching others how to love and treat each other as they serve God. It begins with laying down my own life before God, waiting for His Word to me, embracing all of God’s best for me. Because of my imperfections, a work still under construction, I must place my life daily before God as an offering so He can perfect His best in me.
This placing and embracing is key to learning to think and behave more like Jesus. We yield and God does the work to change us from the inside out. We cannot do this by ourselves.
ROMANS—OUR CARE AND CALLING
Romans 12, The Message
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
6-8 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.
Living for you is a tall order and too much for us unless your power to working through us to change us daily. Thank you for your love, mercy, grace, patience and goodness that brings us closer to you each day. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. I worship you for all you are. I pray for all of you to be in me. If I had a “word” for 2022, Jesus, it would “embrace”. I embrace all you have for me and all you want to do in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen