Last time we were together…here on the internet… we looked at humility. The next characteristic I studied today in Living Beyond Ourselves by Beth Moore was being teachable. In order to be teachable we need to be humble.
Many of us at times have tried to share advice or correction sincerely and genuinely only to be met with an “I know it all” attitude. I used to get angry when I was met with this attitude. But now I just understand that sometimes the timing for that individual is not right or they just do not have a teachable attitude.
Let’s look in the bible at what happens when people have teachable spirits.
Acts 18 talks about a couple named Aquila and Priscilla who were tentmakers from Italy. The Apostle Paul ended up connecting with this God-fearing couple and they worked together for some time since Paul was also a tentmaker by trade. No doubt during that time Paul was able to teach Aquila and Priscilla more about God as they spent time together working and living. Eventually Paul went on to Ephesus to share the gospel with the gentiles. Soon after an Alexandrite named Apollos entered the city and the bible describes him as eloquent, mighty in the scriptures and had a fervent spirit (Acts 18:24). The couple heard him preaching in the synagogue and saw that he was doing well but needed to know more in order to grow in his ministry. So Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and taught him the way of God more accurately. Afterwards Apollos went on to become a greater speaker able to refute the Jews publicly. In the end some even equated him with Peter and Paul (found in 1 Corinthians 1:12).
This is a beautiful example of what happens when we are teachable. The disciples were able to teach Paul and Paul was able to teach Aquila and Priscilla and they were able to teach Apollos who was able to go on to teach many more. Do you see how God is able to multiply the ministry through teachable spirits? Each persons’ ministry was blessed through humility and receiving teaching in love.
I do believe that we can learn something from other saints in the body of Christ. That is the beauty of how God created us. We all have different gifts and different talents that are meant to edify the whole body and to minister to others. If Aquila and Priscilla acted jealous of Apollos ability to speak and lead and refused to teach they would have robbed many people of hearing the truth.
I liked how the bible notes that the couple took Apollos aside to teach him. They did not correct him in public in front of the one’s he was preaching to. They lovingly took him and poured into him so that he could flourish. There is always a larger purpose in learning and teaching when it comes to the things of God. There might be a young person out there who needs you to pour into them. Let us keep our eyes on Him and receive His teaching with a humble heart. God cam and wants to do more than we can imagine in our lives when we submit to what He wants to teach us!
Forgiveness is a huge topic in the bible. LIKE REALLY HUGE! In fact, it’s why Christ came-so we could be forgiven and come into relationship with God as His children.
I wanted to look at this topic because it’s something that I (and I’m sure many others) have to confront daily. Forgive the guy who cut you off on the highway, forgive the person who wronged you in the past, or forgive your spouse who did something to offend you…again. It’s a daily and continual issue that we must deal with.
In the book of Matthew (Matthew 18:15-35) Jesus tells the parable of the…let’s call him “TheUngratefulServantWhoCouldRepresentUsatAnytime”. There was once a servant who owed his master the millions of dollars. The master was going to sell everything he had including his family in order to pay the debt. But the servant begged for mercy and the master forgave him his debt. Later we see the servant go look for a fellow servant who owed him a few dollars and demanded his money. The second servant begged for mercy. The first servant forgot the mercy that was showed to him and had the second servant thrown into jail. The master of the first servant found out and threw him into prison to be tortured until the debt had been repaid…which would have meant he would be tortured until death.
Looking at this parable it’s easy to see that the first servant was ungrateful and out of his mind for not showing the second servant mercy. But it can be us at any moment in time if we do not forgive others for offenses.
The greek word for forgiveness is aphiemi. It basically means walking around with the unforgiven one roped to your back. Why would anyone want to walk around with a body tied to their back? Or two or three or even a car load of unforgiven people? You see the unforgiveness will hurt you more than the other person. You will be broken down, tired, and unable to run the race of life effectively because you (or I) have a butt load of unforgivenss weighing you down.
Today ask God to help you let go of any unforgivenss in your heart (I promise I will do it too) and feel the freedom that God wants you to feel not only for releasing those people off of your back but also to know the gift of forgiveness we have been given by God Almighty!
Where does your joy abide? Does it come from shopping? Watching movies? Going to the spa? While all these things are a lot of fun and sometimes relaxing they only provide a temporary sense of happiness. Joy is something deeper and more consistent. The dictionary defines joy as: 1. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment, 2. something causing such a feeling; a source of happiness.
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
What is the source of your joy? On day 4 of the Living Beyond Yourself study by Beth Moore we looked at how to abide in joy.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Jesus gives us the answer right here! We must abide in him. The word abide means to remain, dwell, or live. We must do this so that our joy will be full. We know that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy our joy but in reality he can never really destroy the source of our joy. The source of our joy must be found in Christ and what He has done for us on the cross. This can never be undone or stolen. It remains steadfast in our all powerful saviour! He has overcome death and given us hope for eternal life!
As I have been meditating on joy for the past few weeks it hasn’t resulted in laughing all the time or a temporary pep in my step like hanging out with friends or getting a new outfit does. It’s deeper and solid. When I feel down or discouraged I stop and think about my Saviour about what He has done. I stop and “rediscover” His goodness and grace in my life. It makes the troubles of this life fade away and the corners of my lips to do curl up a little as I think about my Saviour’s HUGE LOVE for me! In the past I would let my mind circle around and around on things that bother me but I am trying to train my mind to stop and focus on this teaching. I remember being told by my mom to make sure that my joy is in Christ and not in my husband, children or life circumstance. I have always thought about it but never took hold of it until now…almost 8 years after she told me that. But now it’s sinking in. The joy of the Lord is my strength and I hope that it becomes yours as well!
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. -Philippians 4:8.
I’ve read this verse several times in the bible and it always seems easier said than done. To keep your mind focused on these things versus the evil that you hear about every day in the news. The battle is surely in the mind. For me at least. I’ve struggled with chronic pain for over 20 years and lately I’ve started having these horrible flare ups that makes the pain worse. I’ve been through a lot of testing and have not found out what is wrong. But that aside I do know that the more I’m worried or stressed the worse the pain is. I know that what I think about and focus on has a direct effect on my body. I wish it wasn’t that way sometimes. I wish that I could hear a sad story or read a horrific news account and then just let it go. But my mind begins to think about the victim, what the victim suffered, the families involved, etc. I could find myself going on and on getting angrier or depressed by the minute-and as a result in a lot of pain. But I have to realize that my worry will not help the situation. So instead I’ve begun to take a moment to pray for those that suffer on a more regular basis. And ask God for an opportunity to use my gifts, talents and experience to help someone. Then I try to let it go. But it’s a fight for me. For some reason guilt threatens my mind. I actually feel guilty for not spending my time worrying. But that’s ridiculous! If I give my children a gift I want to hear them say thank you and be grateful and happy with their gift not turn around and say why didn’t you give this gift to someone else’s child? I think in essence it is not my place to worry like this. I am not God. I cannot know why things happen as they do. In my study last year of Kay Arthur’s “Lord I Want to Know You”, I studied the names of God. God is sovereign (El Elyon) , God sees all things (El Roi) and God can heal (Jehovah Rapha). So who am I to worry like this? We cannot add any days to our lives by worrying. It is obvious that God did not create us to worry or be stressed since it ALWAYS has negative physiological effects on our bodies. I feel like this pain is my “thorn”. I used to pray that God would take it away. I mean FERVENT prayer! But I see now that it is a good reminder to me to stay humble and remember Who is really in charge of our lives. And now I am working on the lesson of being content and joyful in my present situation.
I am making an effort to follow the words of this scripture. I hope that you will too.