As a pastor who happens to be a father…. And a father who happens to be a pastor… I am often faced with the issue of teaching my children about life. The interesting things are that now that my children are grown, one would think that the teaching and instruction stops. However, the contrary is true. The issue of teaching and training has not diminished at all. In the church, some saints (Spiritual Children) are mature, but the issue of teaching and training has not diminished there either.
The Bible gives great wisdom for educating the Saints of God and your children. But one can only teach to the level of that which they understand. It is incumbent upon parent and saints alike to learn as much as they can about the Bible not only for their benefit but also for the well—being of others. Mothers and Fathers should learn so that they can teach their children the Blessings and Promises of the Lord. Pastors and church leaders must learn all they can so that they can teach the Saints the same.
Teaching and training are two sides of the same coin. In theory, you can’t have one without the other. But unfortunately, and much too frequently, one-sided coins seem to appear frequently. The one-sided coin, in this case, is when people ‘Teach’ but don’t “Train’. How can they teach but don’t train, you ask?
According to one of the online dictionaries defines teaching as “ideas or principles taught by an authority.”
One of the online dictionaries defines training as “teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period.“
One online resource says that there is no difference between teaching and training. However, from a spiritual perspective, there is a world of difference. The main differences in the definitions seem to be the element of time. Consider the emphasized portion of the definition where it says, “a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.”
Too often teachers may give someone the information but don’t work with people to bring it to the point of solidity in their lives. Teaching is one thing, but training practices it until it is a solid concept within them. Someone that his well trained in a subject matter doesn’t have to think real hard about it. They simply flow in it. They do what they have learned and trained to do effortlessly. Whether it is a skill on a job, a craft or a sport, etc, the concept is the same. It is also like driving a car. I remember when I first learned to drive and subsequently, later in life, teaching my children to drive. By the way, teaching my children to drive was an interesting experience, to say the least. But it does make me stop and think about the whole driving experience.
When you first started to drive, I’m sure that it was awkward and uncomfortable. I’m sure that you were nervous and had to concentrate extremely hard. You had to think about every little detail. You had to make sure that you did everything perfectly. Now, years later, you can probably drive as your second nature. And, to even take it a step further, you can probably drive, talk on the phone, watch the kids in the backseat, listen to the radio and a whole host of other activities at the same time. (By the way, we recommend driving safely at all times!) But truth be told, you have practiced and regularly trained in your driving skills to the point where it has now become second nature. It is no longer a consideration of ‘can you drive’, but ‘where is it that you want to go’.
When it comes to learning the Word of God, the same thing applies. When you first start learning Bible scriptures, it can be awkward and uncomfortable. You are using your spirit in a way that it has never used before. Through practice over time, it becomes second nature. The Bible says it like this,
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” -Jas 1:22 KJV
If we just listen to teaching or just read the Bible but don’t take the time to internalize and practice what we have learned, then we are like the person who was told how to drive a car but never actually drove it. Yes, they may have the theoretical knowledge, but they will not be able to drive as skillfully as those who drive their cars every day. They may have the head knowledge but not the heart knowledge. For them, it will continue to be awkward, difficult and a struggle for them until they learn to put it as a priority and practice it on a regular basis.
Simply knowing how to drive and practicing how to drive are two different things. You can imagine driving all you want, but until you actually get out there on the roads and highways, you will never get anywhere. The Bible also puts it like this:
“In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn’t cause you to do any good things. Another person might say, “You have faith, but I do good things.” Show me your faith apart from the good things you do. I will show you my faith by the good things I do.” -Jas 2:17-18 GW
You have actually to drive somewhere to become good at driving. You have actually to use your faith to become strong in it. You have to actually ‘DO’ the Word to become mature in understanding the Word. You have to be sincere about the things of God for Him to reveal His secrets to you.
Clearly, the skill set of a race car driver is greater than the skill set of the average citizen driving on the road. Not only does the race car driver drive for personal business and back and forth to work, but he/she has taken the additional time out of their life, studying it the point where it is a science and high-performance art. They have put it as a priority in their life.
Many times, people want the benefits of the Bible but don’t make it a priority in their lives to study and ‘train’ concerning the things of God. We must make it a priority to study and train in it until His Word is cemented in our spirit and becomes second nature. The Word of God reminds us:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. “ -Mat 6:33 KJV
When we put learning about God and His Ways as a priority, the ‘things’ or benefits that are promised in His Word begin to be automatically added. We begin to see His Favor overtake us. Miracles begin to happen that we never expected.
When we learn to ‘DO’ the Word, trust in Him and live by Faith, we become like the race car driver who is pursuing the art of driving to its maximum potential. We become one who is not merely content to sit and watch the race from the sidelines, but rather, we become one who trains consistently concerning the Word of God. We begin to gain traction and drive somewhere in the spirit.
When we drive, it is important to see things along the way. I have observed that even when people have expensive or fancy cars, that it doesn’t mean that they know how to drive well. When people see some ministries and churches that have fancy facades and edifices that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they ‘DO’ the Word. Some do, and some don’t. Unfortunately, many people falsely assume that a fancy or expensive car means that the driver has skill and can drive well. That is not always the case.
I have also observed that music blasting loudly from a car doesn’t mean that the person can drive well. Just because people can scream a message from the rooftops or have the ability to promote messages on a large scale does not mean that they are ‘Doers’ of the Word.
We would be wise to practice and train in safe driving. We would be wise to practice and train in our understanding of the Word of God and His Ways. We would be wise to study the Bible for ourselves. The more we learn of God and His Ways, the better we can drive in the spirit and get somewhere in life. We would be wise to pay attention to the signposts that God places along the way to show us the direction in life that we should go. As we train and practice hearing from God, the ability to see His signs and directions along the road of life will become second nature. As we practice knowing His Voice, we won’t have to think too long and hard about how to make the right decisions. When we follow His leading, the road ahead becomes clear.
Let us be mindful that sitting learning about driving in a class is not the same as actually driving on the road. Theory is not the same thing as application. Head knowledge is not the same as an understanding by the Spirit. Teaching is great, but Training is better.
So, the question remains…
Which do you do? Do you sit in class or do you actually drive?
May God’s Grace Abundantly Reign In Your Life!
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According to the Scripture, Romans 8:28 says- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The questions is, how do all these things work out to our benefit? God is a “God that declares “The End” from “The Beginning”. However, we must understand that He is also a God of process. There is a process that takes from the beginning unto the end.
By Dr. Ric Steele
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