Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Have you ever felt hopeless? Like the last spark of faith had died and your heart felt cold and lifeless? That’s how Cleopas and his companion felt as they trudged to Emmaus. The cross of Jesus had extinguished their hopes. But all that changed when “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them”. Luke 24:15
They didn’t not recognize Him, but tiny sparks of faith grew hot as He explained the prophecies, then burst into flame when Jesus blessed their food and then vanished. Their burning hearts sent them racing to Jerusalem with the joyous news: Jesus is alive!
“Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
Not long after, Peter and John healed a lame beggar. The Jewish leaders were furious that the power of Jesus was still at work and strictly forbade the two disciples from preaching. But their demands would not silence the disciples.
Peter and John responded with conviction. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)
You can’t keep quiet one who has met the Living Savior. Peter and John had walked with Jesus for three years. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and daily conversing with God through prayer and Bible study. They had good news to share!
Can you be kept quiet? Or does your heart burn within you because you have walked and talked with Jesus? If your heart burns with love for Jesus, then you’ll have an inner desire to share your Joy with others.
Something special happens when we share what we personally know of Christ and what we are learning in His Word. Those who hear encounter the living Christ. And as we share, our own understanding and retention of what God has taught us grows exponentially. This is God’s Divine Memory Aid #7: Share It! (Read about the other six HERE).
The Best Way to Remember
Peter, John, and Cleopas were doing more than bringing people to Jesus through their testimony. Whether they realized it or not, they were fixing truth deeply in their own memories. They would never forget the things they were sharing; partly because they had experienced it, but also partly because they were telling others about it.
We have long known that those who teach others understand and remember far more than those who learn in other ways. “Students who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than students who simply spend the same time re-studying.” Christina Jarrett, “Learning by Teaching Others is Extremely Effective”, The British Psychological Society Research Digest.
Recent studies have explored why teaching is such an effective way to remember. Their findings show that teaching improves memory in several ways: Teaching causes us to think about the topic again and repetition deepens impression. The very process of retrieving information that we’ve learned in order to teach it strengthens our memories. Also, preparing to teach forces us to think deeply about the subject and organize our thoughts into a coherent presentation. This intentional interaction with the material enhances our understanding.
The Great Commission: Teach What I Have Taught You
Satan knows you’ll remember what you teach. Therefore he does everything he can to inundate you with the mundane, enthrall you with the exciting, and discourage you with the troublesome. He wants you do anything but share the things God is teaching you.
That is why Jesus’ parting words to His disciples was a command to go and make more disciples, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. It wasn’t just instruction to evangelize the world (though that was obviously on Jesus’ mind). He was also thinking of the disciples, and all those who would follow in their footsteps. Jesus knew that the process of recalling what He had taught them and teaching others would anchor their own faith. If they were faithful to fulfill their commission, they would never forget and fall away from their first love for Jesus.
The experience of the disciples demonstrates the results of Jesus’ commission. They were “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10) and “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) for Christ.
Jesus’ command applies to you and I today as well. God is calling us to go and make disciples by teaching others what He has taught us. That may not mean giving a Bible study or preaching a sermon (though God might have that in mind someday). But it does mean this: God wants you share with someone what you are learning in your Bible study. Today.
Share It Forward
Have you heard of “paying it forward”? It means that when someone does something nice for you, you turn around and do a good deed for someone else. It’s a modern way of saying what God calls you and I to do: He pours His love and truth into our hearts each day through our Bible study and prayer time causing our hearts to burn within us. Then He asks us to go and share that blessed fire with someone else.
Think of what Jesus told the demon-possessed man that He healed by Galilee. “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” (Luke 8:39). The man faithfully told his story and when Jesus returned the whole population turned out to meet Him. He shared it forward.
So how do you share it forward for God? Here are six practical way to remember the things God teaches you by sharing it forward.
- Let Your Heart Burn Within You: You cannot share what you don’t have. So each day take time in God’s presence, reading the Bible carefully and systematically, conversing with Him in prayer and listening to His Voice. Ask Him to speak to you personally and cause your heart to burn within you as you spend time with Jesus. If you need help developing a personal devotional life, read “Five Keys for Enjoying Your Bible Everyday”.
- Study to Teach: Think about how you could share the truths God is teaching you with someone else as you study your Bible. Write down the key thought or Scripture you want to remember and share. The very process of planning how you can share it with someone else will help you remember. And then you’ll “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you…” 1 Peter 3:15.
- Pray for Boldness: Sharing our faith can be intimidating! Do what the disciples did and pray for boldness to speak His Word. (Acts 4:29). Ask God to give you courage to step outside of your comfort zone and share a Scripture or thought from your worship time with someone in need of encouragement.
- Pray for Opportunities: Ask God to bring you someone who needs encouragement, or to remind you of someone you should contact. He may bring someone into your day, impress you to call or text a long lost friend, or have you share on social media. You’ll be amazed at the divine appointments God sets up for you if you are willing to be used.
- Keep It Simple and Spontaneous: Simply share the passage and what it meant to you. You can start with something like this: “I was really encouraged by this verse this morning. Listen…” or “I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I’ve struggled with the same thing. But God gave me this encouragement….” You may want to read the passage together. Smart phones make this easy. If appropriate, apply the Scripture to the other person’s life with a question like, “Do you see how God is offering you strength too?”
- Pray Together: A simple prayer can be such a blessing. If the person you are sharing with tells you about a challenge they are facing, offer to pray with them right then. Don’t just say you’ll pray for them. It’s too easy to forget Pray a short prayer of blessing with them right then. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
Ask to Give
In Luke 11 Jesus tells the story of an annoying neighbor who comes at midnight begging for bread for an unexpected visitor. He keeps shouting and knocking until he gets what he wants. Jesus concludes his story by inviting you and I to bother Him in just the same way.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10
“Christ is the great center, the source of all strength. His disciples are to receive their supplies from Him. The most intelligent, the most spiritually minded, can bestow only as they receive. Of themselves they can supply nothing for the needs of the soul. We can impart only that which we receive from Christ; and we can receive only as we impart to others. As we continue imparting, we continue to receive; and the more we impart, the more we shall receive. Thus we may be constantly believing, trusting, receiving, and imparting.” Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 370.
Friend, do you want to walk and talk with Jesus? Do you long to have your heart burn within you? Do you see people around you in need of encouragement in Jesus?
Then go to God and plead with Him to speak to you through your own Bible study time so you can share with others. Be annoyingly persistent. God will not be angry. He will gladly speak to you and give you the courage and opportunities to share it forward.
As you share, you’ll be ensuring that you understand and remember the things you are learning in your Bible study time. But more than that, you will have the joy of joining God in His work of salvation and encouraging others in their walk with God. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 4.
God’s promise is for you: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3.
Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 8:26-39; John 4:1-42, 2 Peter 1:16-21
Note: This devotional is part of a 10 part series on 5 Keys to Enjoying God’s Word. If you have not already, please take time to read the devotionals in the series. How to Turn on God’s Alarm Clock, Finding a Quiet Place Alone with God, Faith – Essential Preparation for Bible Study, A Willing Heart for Bible Study, How to Read the Bible, and Tools for Bible Study, Conversation with God, How to be Transformed by God’s Word, God’s Seven Tools for Remembering, Why God Wants You to Share What You Learn. Also, please see the related video devotionals with Pastor McKenzie.