Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Power of Three

He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." (Luke 11:28)

So, in elementary school language arts class, we spent our days learning new words, their definitions and how to spell them. In order to fully absorb this information instead of just temporary memorization and rote recall, for homework, my teacher asked us to write at least three sentence using each vocabulary word. We quickly began scribbling sentences such as, "The girl walked _____ down the street" for every term, but she was on to us and quickly put a stop to such shortcuts. She asked us to truly think about each word, what they meant, and what situations we might select that specific term. Our teacher knew several things about our brains that we did not yet understand: 1.) The average person needs to see something THREE times before they remember it, and 2). Information going in one ear will quickly pour out the other ear if it doesn't stop off for a bit to work in the brain.

Luke reports a conversation Jesus had with a crowd of people whom had gathered around Him:

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." (Luke 6:47-49).

God teaches me new things every day. Information is not the problem. Remembering and applying that information is the problem. That requires some extra activity on my part.

I find that every time I learn a new lesson, God gives me a rapid fire set of opportunities to put that tidbit of information into play. Because He knows, like my teacher, that applying a lesson helps to permanently sear it into my brain, creating some sort of "muscle memory" that aids in more spontaneous, godly reactions in the future. In many cases, I don't have my eyes open to see that lesson coming. For instance, recently my pastor was talking about patience as one of the fruits of the Spirit. During his talk, a congregant behind me was kicking the back of my chair, while one to the right of me was clicking her retractable pen over and over until my skin began to crawl. It was all I could do to not stand up and scream, "Oh my gosh, would you all just stop being so annoying so I can fricken learn about patience here!"

So, I am committing to writing down each lesson learned on a notecard. I am going to place this notecard in a high traffic area in my home, work or car. It purpose will be to keep in the forefront of my mind what lesson I've just learned, so I'm more likely to recognize an opportunity from God to practice it in my life. I am only going to retire the card when I've had THREE chances to live it out, so I am more apt to retain the benefits of true learning. I hope in this way, to become a "doer" of the Word and not just a "hearer" of the Word.

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