The 30 Day Rule

Almost invariably at any conference I speak, I share the “30 Day Rule.” The rule states, “You cannot teach, share, or promote a newly discovered principle until you’ve first digested, understood, and applied this life concept to your personal practice or context.” Anything short of the “30 Day Rule” borders on hypocrisy. Effective influencers teach from an understanding rather than a simple regurgitation of facts or someone else’s insights. Preachers are always looking for the next sermon; listeners are seeking authentic messengers. There’s even biblical precedent for this rule. Take a moment and read through Mark 9:2-10.

2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them.4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. 5 Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials*—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”6 He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”8 Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. 9 As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man* had risen from the dead.10 So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.” (bold added)

Jesus knew “the guys” would want to tell everyone what they witnessed. His strict instruction was not to tell anyone until He’d been raised. They were to hold on to this information, allowing it to mature in their heart and mind until an appropriate time to be revealed to others. While they could talk about amongst themselves, it was not for public disclosure, yet.

When I have moments to get away with God, He often teaches or reveals things that are just for me. It’s a personal time, an invited time, when we just meet. The meeting isn’t about the next message or sermon series, it’s about our relationship. There’s a necessity for me to learn before I can ever consider teaching others. This is a communicator’s prerequisite, not a luxury. God teaches me for me. A learned lesson may be for public teaching down the road or it may not; it just depends on His plan. Ideas need to mature and precepts practiced before they can be taught with authority. Teachers need time with the master instructor and not to work on lesson plans, but to work on the one who’ll invariably communicate the lesson.