I’ve always been amazed at those who have a teachable spirit. When my kids were small there would always be times to teach them something new…and they were eager and hungry for new experiences. Whether it would be learning to ride a bike or build a model airplane…they were "in". I loved those times! As a professor, it is awe-inspiring to have students in class that actually want to learn. There is nothing that gets a teacher more motivated than students who have a hunger for new information and personal transformation. All I have to do is take a moment, look into the eyes/heart of those in class and I can discern in a heartbeat their level of connectedness in the learning endeavor.
Frankly, learning does not occur when the learner hasn’t invested in the process. Even so, learning in some respects is one of the most life threatening experiences in human existence. To learn means that we are required to change, even sacrifice, for the sake of learning and growing. I think most of us intuitively know that…which may explain why we struggle at times to choose whether to connect or disconnect with the learning process during times in our lives. For some, learning and transformation is too threatening…once a perceived threat is present, they will put intellectual, emotional, or spiritual road blocks up as a means of deflecting anything that would threaten their preconceived notions and perspectives. In other words, for many their mind/heart is "closed for business".
Thomas Merton once wrote, “The purpose of any education is to show a person how to define himself/herself authentically and spontaneously in relation to his/her world”. Once you understand what Merton is trying to say, maybe that accounts for your own personal adherence or disdain for learning and growing. Truthfully, only you know what is in the depth of your own heart and spirit in terms of growth in knowledge and spiritual authenticity.
Now, you would think that a passion for learning would be something that would be commonplace in the Body of Christ. You would think that every Christ-follower would be fervent about learning and growing. But that’s not often the case. Messages at worship gatherings are often met with a flat emotional disengagement…learning opportunities are often evaded or put off because of the business of life or pure religious arrogance/stubbornness. In addition, the Spirit of God has the uncanny ability to mess up our "theology"…oh, you don't want to even know how many times God has "forsaken my theology". Every time I feel like I got this "God-thing" down, the Lord surprises me once more. Then there is the time issue…we’ll follow the box scores of our favorite teams…watch countless hours of the Food Network and learn the latest gourmet recipes…we’ll memorize the schedule of our favorite TV shows or spend hours discovering how to beat the latest video game that we buy…but learn or expose ourselves to truths that can set us free in a new way? “Mmm, let me see if I have time or energy or the fortitude for that?”
I wonder…God wonders, where is your teachable spirit? Do you have a hunger and thirst for the ways of God? Do you have more of a desire for God and His truth than you have for protecting your notions of what life is all about? Today, why not seek God for a teachable spirit in your life.
HOW ABOUT SOME QUESTIONS THAT MIGHT HELP IN GOING DEEPER:
1. One aspect of having a teachable spirit is to desire Jesus. How do you desire Jesus? Ask God to fill your heart with a desire for Him above all else. Read Jeremiah 30:21, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Psalm 27:4,8.
2. Another element of a teachable heart has to do with complete spiritual abandon to God. God desires that we give Him our whole hearts…that we give ourselves to Him completely, withholding nothing. Read Deuteronomy 4:29, 6:5, 1 Samuel 12:24, Psalm 84:10, Psalm 86:11.
3. Another element of a teachable heart is repentance and humility. What is God’s command to His people? Read Ezekiel 18:30-31. Do you have any shred of spiritual arrogance? Do you feel like you have "it all down" and that is nothing new you can learn? Is your mind/heart – open or closed for business?
4. Another element is to yearn to be more and more like Jesus. What did Moses ask? Read Exodus 33:13. What did David ask? Read Psalm 119:33-35. What was Paul’s passion? Read Philippians 3:8, 10.
5. God our Father first opened His heart to you, withholding nothing, not even His own precious Son. You have all of Him. Likewise, come before Him, offering Him your open, undivided heart and complete affection. Does He have all of you? Right now, say a prayer of commitment and openness to Jesus…this will guide your day. “Dear Jesus…”