Ok, maybe not everything. Maybe the way you learned it is wrong. Or maybe you haven’t really learned everything you think you have. Let me explain.
Look at this chart. Would you just look at it?
I stole this here.
A very prevalent model of teaching goes something like this.
- I talk, you listen.
- You talk, I correct your talking
- You talk, others listen.
The problem with this model is that it basically creates a glorified version of parrots. People can pass exams and tests all day long because they have the head knowledge but it is not applied learning.
P.S. Applied learning is also known as wisdom. It’s the ability to put your knowledge into practice in a healthy and effective way.
P.P.S. Speaking of glorified parrots, remember Ferbies? Those things were creepy. I hope they never come back in style.
There are several reasons this second teaching model can be very appealing. It really requires no life change or personal conviction. Also, it can be carried out in a classroom setting or even over the internet. If teaching is only concerned with facts, then a well written book could replace a teacher. I, for one, completed my higher education completely online with very little support from long distance faculty. Books were my teachers, but they can only go so far.
Jesus was a Rabbi. A rabbi is not a Himalayan river flowing through india and Pakistan, nor is it that foaming at the mouth disease that turns dogs into pet zombies. A rabbi was a jewish teacher of the law. They studied Torah and Talmud like they were preparing for a Pi reciting competition. Then they lived that teaching out and modeled it to a bunch of handpicked followers. Their teaching model was probably a lot closer to the chart above. It was truth being modeled in action.
When kid’s learn, they innately understand this model. They watch dad flush the toilet, turn on the light, or close the window. Children immediately put what they see into action because they understand that it is the only way to actually learn something.
The point of all of this is twofold. On the one hand, there is never going to be any shortcut to teaching people how to follow Jesus. In fact, the current model of sitting-in-a-pew-and-listening-to-a-lecture looks a lot more like a synagogue and less like following Jesus. It could arguably be completely useless when it comes to actual life change.
In order to learn/catch Jesus from you, people need to be around you. No effective teaching can take place in a vacuum. It happens in car rides to the hospital. It happens when you pay for something you didn’t break. It happens when you respond kindly to hatred and someone is watching. It happens in awkward moments. Messy, sloppy, crying moments. And even sometimes in a classroom, but very rarely.
On the other hand, there is never going to be any shortcut for you personally in following Jesus. People want the fruit of the spirit downloaded to them like it’s an iphone app. We are a culture obsessed with 90 minute abs and 3 month debt destruction, not because we are afraid of hard work but because we are afraid of investing time.
Jesus’ model of teaching is different. It is slow. It involves us being attached to the branch and abiding in Christ. Learning a bunch of verses and being able to spit them out at the right times does not mean you have learned something. Only when you forgive your enemy, only when you consider others as more important than yourself, have you actually learned.
In order to learn/catch Jesus you have be with him. Many Christian’s pack Jesus into the mcdonalds fast food meal wrapping to grab on the go. They want Jesus but only on Sundays. They want conviction but only in small doses. There is no shortcut to the forming of Christ’s character in us, and the regurgitation of sermons does not count as spiritual learning or maturing.
First, go back to that diagram above and apply it to your life with God. Don’t do anything until you have started with the first step of watching what God does and talking with him about it. I’ll let you figure out the other steps.
Second, once you have started putting the Jesus-following life into practice, invite others into your journey in a way that leaves them also following Jesus.