The Three “Rs”
The old school basics for a good education are the three “Rs”: Reading, (W)riting, and (A)rithmetic. Sticking to these three “Rs” can provide all that is really needed to be well educated.
The old school basics for a good education in the Lord are also three “Rs”— Revelation, Reflection and Reinforcement. Sticking to these three “Rs” can provide all that is really needed to be well educated in the Lord. Paul’s experience of turning to God’s way from his own way as described in Galatians 1:11-24 shows these three “Rs” in action.
First off, there is Revelation. That’s the voice from outside. That’s God speaking to you. Jesus said to Paul, “Why are you persecuting me?” (see Galatians 1:15-16a and Acts 9:4) Paul had been trying to relate with God and others in his own way. That’s like trying to do arithmetic without paying attention to how it works. Paul just tried to apply his own rules and ways to life and relationship with the Lord. He ended up sure of himself and his answers, but he was completely wrong. God made that very clear to him. Perhaps you have tried to relate with God and others in your own way. You are so sure it must be right, but something happens that makes it very clear you are completely wrong. In my life, that has happened when I used to think if I just tried my best to please everyone, they would be happy. Boy, did God ever make it clear to me that doesn’t work. I used to think I could solve everyone’s problems if I just tried hard enough. God revealed to me that was not possible and also was very self-centered. I used to think God didn’t want to have a relationship with me because I mess up and give into temptation. God has revealed to me that’s just not right. You get the idea? When God reveals to us our mistakes in relating with Him and others, He is working on educating us. That’s a good thing. We are learning and growing through these revelations.
It’s very important what we do with these revelations, however. That’s where the second “R” comes in—Reflection. After Jesus revelation to Paul and the all that happened to him then, Paul needed to reflect. In Galatians 1:16b-17, we read how Paul went away on his own for some time and really thought about what had been revealed to him and what it meant for his relationship with God and others. This is like the homework. It is so important to do if you are going to learn anything. Many times in school I would try to fake my way without doing my homework. It never worked very well. I didn’t really know what I was talking about and it showed. You just have to do your homework to really get a grasp of what the teacher is trying to teach you. When things are revealed to you about the way you are relating with God and others, you have got to reflect on the revelation until you get a grasp of how to do it God’s way. Otherwise you don’t really put the revelation to work in your life. Sometimes, I’ve had to have something revealed to me several times before I Have been really willing to reflect on it and learn from it. Thankfully, God is a very patient teacher, but He expects us to do our homework.
Happily, we are not alone as we are educated in the Lord. We have many opportunities for our third “R”—Reinforcement. Paul tells the Galatian Christians in chapter 1, verses 18-24 that after reflection, he went to Jerusalem to check himself out with the first followers of Jesus. This sharing reinforced Paul’s faith and his resolve to keep growing in the Lord. The reinforcing fellowship of the church is such an important basic in being educated in the Lord. We know that, but don’t always act on it. I remember when I was in college I thought it was pretty cool that I didn’t “have” to go to class. I had spent so many years with attendance strictly monitored, I loved getting to skip classes. I soon realized by doing that, however, I wasn’t learning much and I was getting into trouble. As an adult, no one makes you go to hear and share in the Lord’s word in worship, Bible study or other opportunities for reinforcement in the Lord. But skipping these opportunities makes it hard to get proper reinforcement of what God wants to teach you.
So as you consider how you can grow in the Lord, remember the three “Rs”. If you stick to them you won’t go wrong. You will have all that is needed for a great education in the Lord.
Spreading, Serving and Sharing with You,