Pass It On

Dear Friends,

With the help of a friend and also YouTube I have been learning how to crochet.  I have learnt how to crochet a dishcloth, and I'm planning that my next project will be to crochet a scarf. 

I have discovered that I find it easier to learn if someone will teach me by showing me what to do and then give me the opportunity to try do it with them.  I am then ready to try it on my own.  Although there are a variety of ways to learn I believe we learn best in the context of relationships.  We are learning all the time, from the moment we are born we learn by observing our parents and other family members and we also learn by participation, by trying an activity together. 

Once we have learnt something we can then pass it on to others.  I still iron shirts in the way my Mum taught me, and have passed that skill on to my son, Joshua, (having said that it's been some time since he ironed one of his own shirts!)  I can also remember teaching Josh how to tie his shoelaces and discovered the best way for him to grasp this was to sit side by side with a shoe in front of us both and to tie them simultaneously.  Once he had mastered it we both felt a sense of satisfaction over his achievement. 

This same principle of learning something new and then teaching it to someone else is also a part, or should be a part, of our Christian life.  A good way to learn about being a Christian is again in the context of relationships.  We can learn from one another and then when we have understood something new, we can then have the joy of passing it on to another. 

I can learn from a more mature Christian, someone who has had more experience and walked with Jesus for longer than I have.  For example, if I am struggling over a particular issue of temptation, I can go to my mature Christian friend, who can tell me how they overcame, and they can give me encouragement and offer to stand with me to support me, and bring me through it too.  If I'm struggling with my challenging teenage children I can ask her for parental advice, ask her for suggestions of how she parented her own teenagers.  As I observe my friend in her Christian walk, I can learn from her how she responds to people, the way she uses her resources such as time and spiritual gifts etc.  Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, "Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example." Philippians 3:17 (NLT)  As we watch and learn from others we can begin to put it into practice in our own lives.

Anything I have learned as a Christian I can share with a friend who is younger in the faith.  I can model the Christian life to my friend, so for example, I can share with her the value there is in a regular quiet time with God and how I connect with God through his word and through prayer, I can model what a Christian marriage looks like and in group settings, I can teach others about prayer as I model praying aloud within the group. 

In his letter to Titus, Paul gave advice to him about how to encourage more mature believers to pass on the things they have learned to younger believers. "they (older women) should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind." Titus 2:3b-7 (NLT)

You can see from this passage in Titus that teaching and learning should be happening in more aspects of our life than just spiritual matters, it's actually for every area of our life, including our relationships, our work, our ministry, our home life etc.

We can learn from one another and teach each other as we walk together side by side on our Christian journey. We are to "Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity."  1 Timothy 4:12b (NLT)  

We  need to watch for opportunities to teach others, both by the things we say and share with them, and by our actions and responses to others and our circumstances.  We need to do this in a sensitive, encouraging and supportive way so that others feel comfortable about coming to us for advice or help, and will want to learn from us.

We also need to have a heart attitude that is humble and open to learning from others, rather than thinking we know it all and there's nothing left for anyone else to teach us. For as long as we live there will always be something new to learn. 

To Think About:
Who is there in your life you can learn from?  What have you already learned from them? In what ways could you strengthen and further develop this relationship?

Are you teachable?

Is there someone in particular God may want you to be an example to?  How can you develop this kind of relationship with this person?  Keep in mind that we learn best in the context of relationship.



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