I enjoy the benefits of the internet with its wide array of teachings on YouTube, access to various blogs, and live messages. It truly is an information super highway. The availability of facts and opinions are literally non-stop from one’s own search or the sharing on social media. I get motivated by creative ideas to change this or that in my life, readjust my thinking towards a more positive stance, and seek to emulate someone who has gone before me struggling with an issue yet overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles. With so many gateways of knowledge at our fingertips, how is it that change seems to elude us?
In order for authentic and lasting transformation to occur, I must look at a few key elements. How am I receiving words from others, and am I retaining them? I researched statistics on the efficiency of information that people actually absorb. I discovered when we read something, we retain ten percent. Twenty percent of retention comes by hearing. Put those two activities together-reading and hearing, and we increase the effectiveness to fifty percent. When the words come out of our own mouths, such as sharing the particulars with others, our recall balloons to seventy percent. However; the absolute most operative way to preserve knowledge is to put forth the action of the instruction. When people do what they have learned, the retention rate skyrockets to ninety percent.
The Israelites in the Old Testament were quite familiar with the Prophet Ezekiel. If social media were a thing in his day, he would have been a sensation with many followers. True prophets were sought out because they heard directly from the Lord. I did not say they were popular or desirable. Many times God used prophets to teach His people hard lessons of discipline. Ezekiel 33:30-33 NIV’84 says, “As for you, son of man (reference to Ezekiel), your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.’ My people come to you as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. When all this comes true-and it surely will- then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Essentially, the Israelites listened to Ezekiel for ENTERTAINMENT and because they did not obey the Word of the LORD, they missed the EVOLUTION to become more like their Heavenly Father by doing what He commanded.
I do hope this strikes a chord with believers in Christ, especially in the Western world. We have liberties our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries could not fathom. Many do not even have Bibles let alone churches on every corner vying for enthusiasts. We do our due diligence and grace the doors of our local places of worship. Perhaps we read along with the Scriptures posted on high tech screens absorbing our ten percent. Or maybe we are good at seeing the screens and hearing the messenger. But are we the ninety percent? Do we do the Word of the Lord we just read, saw, and heard? Do we share it with others? James 1:22 puts it this way, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Failure to lead an active role in the EVOLUTION of change in our lives keeps us as spectators of ENTERTAINMENT. We hear a message like sweet music. It tickles our feel good senses and quickly dissipates until the next wave. ENTERTAINMENT is an amusing adventure we typically seek to disengage with our current reality. God is calling us for so much more. He wants the transformation and EVOLUTION of our lives through obedience and action. As we become more like Him, not just as a hearer, but a doer of His Word, our retention rate soars.