Friday, October 20, 2017


TSWBAT. I used that abbreviation in college quite a bit. Unlike the ones most of us easily recognize today like LOL, LMBO, or TTYL, TSWBAT was specific to a select group of individuals in the education field: The Student Will Be Able To. Written at the top of lesson plans, it allows the teacher to determine if the student has not only learned the information they were supposed to, but if they learned it well enough to apply it. For example: The student will be able to identify the verbs in a paragraph with 90% accuracy. It's clear what's expected (the ability to identify verbs) and it's measurable (can they do it the vast majority of the time).

When we think about Jesus being a teacher, it's easy to wonder what his lesson plans look like. In the field of education there is a great emphasis on differentiation, which is a fancy way of saying adapting the information to the individual learner. I imagine Jesus was the first one to implement this practice because the way he taught a lesson to the Pharisees and the way he taught a lesson to the general public was vastly different.

And just as we are uniquely created, I believe our learning styles are uniquely designed. Some of us have a greater learning curve than others in certain areas. For example, I can't read a map of the sanctuary at church. I have no idea why it is so difficult for me to understand it, but it is. On the other hand, I can look at a newspaper and quickly think of a dozen different ways you could use one article to teach something.

If we take a closer look at Romans 6:17, we see that there is pattern of teaching that has now claimed [y]our allegiance. To me that says differntiation. It's almost like an individual filter by which we take every situation and determine what obedience looks like based on the circumstances. While there are some things that are black and white, we live in a lot of gray. This pattern influences our gray.

So we can pray and ask Jesus where our gray spots are and let him show us how we are to navigate through them. We can't take someone eles's pattern and think it will fit us the same way. But if we give him access to all the parts that aren't currently sticking to the plan, not only will we enjoy peace in our heart, but we'll be fulfilling our purpose and how it is to work together in the grand scheme of things.

My hope all week has been that we would start to accept that God really isn't a cosmic kill-joy that has been out to take all our fun. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we have insisted that there are things we can't live without and we're paying for it dearly. But the cross gives us reason to believe otherwise. The cross shows us that God knew it would be difficult from first to last breath and gave us a way to overcome it. But that will only happen when our love abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight of who God is and how much he truly loves us. He's always had the system rigged for our success, we just need to believe it.

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