“Once when Jesus had been out praying, one of his disciples came to him as he finished and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1
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. Whether it would be learning to ride a bike or build a model airplane. I loved those times! As a teacher, it is awe-inspiring to have students in a 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 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. 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 what we know. I think most of us intuitively know that…which may explain why we choose to connect or disconnect with the learning process during times in our lives. 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. Over my years in local churches, I’ve looked upon the lives of those who think they have “learned it all” when it comes to their walk with God. 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. 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 the truth that can set us free? “Mmm, let me see if I have time for that?”
I wonder what would have happened to the disciples of Jesus if they didn’t have a passion to learn and grow? The disciples often get a bad rap because it appears to many that often they just didn’t get it! Even so, isn’t that the beginning of learning? Isn’t that the outward appearance of a life that is open to further growth and development? Go back in biblical history and as you do, you’ll see that discipleship implied that the individual who sought to be a faithful follower had as a key distinction in their life an all-consuming desire to be and know everything that their “rabbi” (or teacher) knew. Children by the age of 12 often knew the entire Old Testament by memory. Young boys by the age of 15 were making commitments to follow rabbis for fifteen years…being “covered in the dust of their rabbi” was the pressing goal and desire. They wanted to know all that the rabbi knew so that the knowledge and the new action and lifestyle that proceeded from that new learning would transform their lives and set them free. Knowledge was meant to lead to change. They knew that…that’s why they pursued it!
I wonder…God wonders, where is your teachable spirit? Do you have a hunger and thirst for the ways of God? Do you NOT get it? I don’t! I need to learn! I need to know more of God! I need to know another kernel of truth that can take root in my life and grow. How about you?
Today’s meditation has to do with seeking God for a teachable spirit in your life. Won’t you take this time seriously and pursue God in that manner?
The following meditation comes from the book, Prayer Portions, by Sylvia Gunter:
- The first element of an open and teachable heart is God at work, seeking us and wooing us close to Himself. As the lover of our souls, He initiates our drawing near to Him. Read Isaiah 55:1-2, Psalm 65:4, Jeremiah 31:3, Hosea 11:4
- The next element of an open heart and teachable spirit is to desire Jesus. How do you desire Jesus? We simply ask God to fill our hearts with a desire for Him above all else. Read Jeremiah 30:21, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Psalm 27:4,8.
- We cannot fake desire. God sees just as we are. He knows our innermost thoughts and desires. Read Psalm 44:21b, Jeremiah 12:3. How does God respond? Jeremiah 24:7.
- Another element of a teachable heart is complete abandon. 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.
- Another element of a teachable heart is repentance and humility. What is God’s command to Him people? Read Ezekiel 18:30-31.
- 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.
- The more we love Him, the more intimacy we enjoy with Him. How does Paul appeal to us? Read 2 Corinthians 6:11-13. What was Paul’s model for this action and appeal? Read Romans 8:32.
- 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? Below, write Jesus a letter of commitment and openness to Him.
Now, it is your turn…”Dear Jesus…”