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Know, Grow, Show: The Foundation of a life on mission

Know, Grow, Show: The foundation of a life on mission

You’ve probably heard it said that a three-band chord is not easily broken, and that principle is true. A rope that consists of braided strands is far stronger than the sum of those strands themselves. The reason for this is that a cord of multiple strands has a greater capacity to stretch. It won’t stretch the same length as the strands themselves, but in exchange, the fibers in the strand and the spaces their intertwining creates makes for greater elasticity, superior resistance, and less breakage.

In our office, we have a braid that consists of three ropes labeled: “Study, Life and Ministry.” This is the philosophy of the Word of Life Bible Institute in a very succinct illustration, which can also be an extremely useful tool to use in your personal life, your ministry and in the discipling of your students.

The principles in this rope illustration can be taken directly from the pages of Ezra 7:10. This verse says, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

An important thing to note here is that Ezra made a plan. He purposed in his heart beforehand to do three really important things — to seek the scriptures, to do what he learned and then to teach what he had both learned and done to others. Jack Wyrtzen used to call this, “Know, Grow, Show.” This verse lays out a great roadmap to a Christian life that is stronger than the sum of the parts, just like a rope made of three strands.

The first thing Ezra purposed in his heart to do was to study the Word of God. Each morning, I set aside as much time as I need to open the Word of God, to read it and to really study what I am reading. I search commentaries on that verse. I meditate upon it. I might even look it up in an online Greek lexicon to understand the full meaning of each word that I’m reading. I want to understand everything that God breathed in His love letter to me. I love this time of study. I love reading these amazing truths and understanding them.

The second thing I do is I apply them to my life. Knowledge without application is just head trash. It doesn’t help me until I can apply it. I can know that “2+2 is 4,” but until I use that in a practical way, it has profited me very little. After I read the Word of God, I ask, “How does this apply to my life today?” What a powerful question. I am now taking the truth that God has revealed and putting it to use in my own life. It’s not enough to study the Word of God. You must do it, too. James wrote that we need to be “doers” of the word, and not merely “hearers” of it (James 1:22). Step two is equally as important as step one. 

The third thing I do is I share what I’ve learned and applied. Christians who are stuck in an “all about me” way of thinking may love to learn God’s Word and even apply it to themselves, but it stops there. The Christian life is not intended to be a pond that stagnates. It needs to be a river that flows. Truth flows in, it fills you, and then it must flow out. The journey was meant to be shared. We were meant for community. It’s not enough to learn God’s Word and apply it to your life. You must take what God has given you and share it with those around you.

This is what Malachi refers to as “the burden of the word of the LORD” in Malachi 1:1. Whether you’re talking with your friends and co-workers about it, posting it on social media or just letting what you learned change the way you live, the word of God must be coming out of you, or it probably never really went into you.

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