One of the misguided barometers in the church today is, “We are giving them good doses of God’s word each week. Why they’re not learning, is their own fault.” The questions we need to be asking are, “Can they use what we are giving?” or “Are we really giving them anything practical that they can use in their walk with God?” Most of us would say yes, because that is our perspective.
If I give you a diet of only Miracle Grow plant food and that is all you take into your body, will you remain healthy? Will you grow? After all it is Miracle “Grow”. No, of course you will not remain healthy. God has created our physical bodies to grow and sustain on a steady diet. If we take the majority of those elements away from our diet, our body will begin to send up warning signals. If we continue to ignore our body, it will begin to shut down, little by little our health will deteriorate.
The same is true with our spiritual being. We need a healthy, steady diet to grow and sustain our spiritual being. Unfortunately, the steady diet many Christians are getting across North America is not the one God has prescribed. An old saying I remember hearing growing up in Kentucky regarding some preachers and speakers is “All the meat and no potatoes!” Basically, this meant the speaker had all the substance without any sustenance. Substance is necessary, but it does not produce any evidence of learning.
Evidence of learning cannot be found in the lives of many Christians because they are not receiving the sustenance which brings about life change. The greatest evidence of learning (spiritually speaking) is life change. Substance will never produce life change. It can produce great trivia buffs, yet that is not our objective. In many churches I’m afraid we’re serving up all the meat and no potatoes.
In the Christian realm, have we forgotten the need for balanced spiritual nutrition? We must use context for the depiction of God’s truth’s and principles. However, we must also have an earnest portion of application. Only application will bring about evidences of life change. We’re always looking for “spiritual maturity” in others. But, are we looking in the wrong places? One writer said we are using misguided barometers.
When looking for spiritual mature Christians we look at criteria as: Attendance, How many jobs in the church do they already have, tenure of membership, and do they attend Bible study. While each of these could be considered as descent criteria, not one of these demonstrates evidence of learning.
True evidence of learning is the outward manifestation of learned principles and truths. A modification of our beliefs (core values) brings about a behavioral change. Behavioral change is an evidence of true learning. It is an outward manifestation of an applied adjustment to our core values.
Jesus’ sermons and teaching consisted of more application than context, because people need to know how to put into practice God’s principles and truths. What will you change today in your delivery and conversational practices to enable people to a true learning experience that will manifest in their actions? When you hear an evidence of true learning confer recognition for it. Make it known publicly.
This is adapted from portions of chapter six, Evidences of Learning, Teaching That Bears Fruit. Guardian Publishing, George L. Yates