The Encourager

The Encourager

“Teaching by Our Lives - Jeff Curtis”

Teaching by Our Lives

By Jeff Curtis


The prophet Hosea was required by God to marry a prostitute. “When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry
by departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2), and then to take her back again to be his wife after she had left him (3:1-3). Hosea’s experience was intended to demonstrate God’s great love for His people Israel, who had played the harlot by going after other gods. Hosea’s life was used to teach God’s people a lesson. Allen R. Guenther made this point:

The prophet has become the message. Hosea’s marriage and family life carry a distinctive word to Israel. Hosea’s story is a metaphor, but it is also reality. It symbolizes God’s relation to Israel, but it also participates in the shattered relationship to which it points.

After citing Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel as examples of prophets whose lives were used as lessons, Guenther noted that the New Testament likewise “presents the apostles and ministers of the Word as a message. They are not merely the medium; they are also the content.”

In a similar way, Christians are to live so as to teach others what it means to serve God. We are to be lights in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:14-16), which implies that people watching us will learn from what they see. Paul described how the lives of Christians should be teaching tools when he wrote, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). He also wrote to Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1Timothy 4:12).

In a manner of speaking, we could say that everyone is teaching a lesson by his or her life. What do our lives teach?


How Many Legs?

by Al Diestelkamp

The story is told of a young boy who came home from school one day with a merit badge. His father beamed with pride to think that his son was so honored. He proudly asked the boy what it was he had done to earn this reward. The boy replied, “The teacher asked the class how many legs an ostrich has, and I said, ‘three.’” “But an ostrich has only two legs” the father objected. “Why were you rewarded for a wrong answer?” “The rest of the class said four, so I came closer,” was the boy’s explanation.

I fear too much of the time this is the way we think in spiritual matters. We think the Lord is pleased and will reward us as long as we are closer to the truth than those around us. In matters of truth and error, we cannot be satisfied to be merely “closer.” We must seek the whole truth (John 8:32).


Meditate on this:

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.