As a former teacher, licensed professional clinical counselor, marriage and family therapist, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, I am fascinated by relationships and how we come to know what we know.
Learning begins before we even realize we are doing it, but it is a great gift the Lord has given us and if we steward it, we will continue to learn throughout our lifetime.
I am intrigued by learning even in this seventh decade of my life. I value all I have learned to this point but continue to explore and delve into new areas and new things. Ask my grandchildren and they will tell you I am sometimes attracted to random facts I am prone to share simply for the joy of discovering them.
The ways we learn are many and the more of them we employ, the better learners we become. For most of our school years we can think at first glance we learn most from the books we are required to read, study, and master, but that would be a partial truth. We learn from the teachers as well, not only the facts, processes, and ideas he or she presents, but how he or she presents them and attributes value to them in one way or another. But it doesn’t stop there.
We learn from the bus driver, the custodian, the school secretary, the cook, the hall monitor, other teachers that are not ours, and other students we intersect with each day we are in school. We also learn from films, plays, concerts, sporting activities, special speakers, our successes, and our mistakes.
Some of you may know that there are a number of different learning styles that point to how we may learn or retain new information better than others. These include auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. Our best chance of success in any learning environment is for the source of the teaching to match our own style. Too many students start to believe they are not capable because their styles are not what is being used to convey the information. That is especially true for children whose primary learning styles are tactile or kinesthetic since those increasingly disappear after children begin third grade and onward. Instruction increasingly becomes more auditory and visual.
I am prone to be more auditory with visual coming in next. My husband is more kinesthetic and visual than I. Solving a problem or locating information works pretty well when the two of us team up together since we cover most of the bases.
God understands how we are wired and how we each learn better than anyone. It could be that is why He understood that Jesus needed to come to earth to show us Him, point to life, light, truth, freedom, love, and grace. He also knew there would need to be others who would keep those things alive and growing when He returned to heaven.
That’s where the disciples of Jesus came in. He spent more time with them than anyone else. Being with them, they learned who He was over time more than Him telling them who He was. Instead of telling them, He showed them.
It’s what we most need as well. Hearing about the Lord is very good and today we can do that through so many avenues that the first disciples would be amazed, but for as good as this is, we come to know Him best by spending time with Jesus just as they did. That is how our hearts recognize who He really is.
In Matthew 16:13 Jesus asks his disciples who people say that He is. They respond with a variety of answers of what people are saying, but then Jesus gets to the heart of the matter and makes it personal, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”
Peter is the one to answer, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” How did he know with such certainty?
In The First Breakfast by Eric and Kristen Hill, they point to the answer:
“Jesus didn’t go around announcing His credentials or making a big ceremony about His name or title. He just enters their lives, preaching the good news of His gospel of grace. He walks with them on the road, and He looks in their eyes as He listens to their questions. He heals the sick, gives dignity to the poor and the outcast, and spreads out an invitation to all to follow Him.
He spends time with them, and rather than telling them who He is, He just shows them. And spending time in His presence – with Jesus – that is how their hearts recognize who He really is.”
How would any of us answer the question if we were asked today?
How would we know?
How would others know if they relate with us?
Would they hear words about Him or see Him because we show them?
Photo by Rob Blair