We’ve written previously about the importance of having and maintaining a teachable spirit. Without the inclination to learn and grow, we often become, well – just not very enjoyable people to be around. It’s unhealthy to stay stagnant and an unwillingness to expand our minds may even foster arrogance. It’s more beneficial to engage and become part of a community where people remain open to hearing one another’s experiences and viewpoints; allowing perspectives, knowledge and even our beliefs to be expanded. But in a societal culture where all truth is purported to be truth, this could get out of hand. So, how can we, as people committed to following and seeking to be more like Christ, learn to exercise our teachable spirits in ways that maintain a Biblical worldview that honors God? Exploring good options for exercising your teachable spirit is the goal of this week’s post.
As we approach the start of our Summer Classes at North Coast, I thought it would be valuable to at least touch on why developing the character trait of maintaining a teachable spirit is so important in our discipleship journey. As I began to dig into some research on the topic, I came across this post from fellow blogger Trillia Nubell of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
I like the way it readied my mind toward remaining teachable so I’m hoping you’ll gain from it as well.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 (NIV)
I didn’t grow up in church and wasn’t exposed to Bible stories as a child. I became a Christian at age 22, but felt like a toddler. Everything was new!
Not only was I learning how to walk with God but also how to read His Word. Everyone seemed to know so much; at least that’s what I thought. I found myself tempted to approach God’s Word out of duty — to gain more knowledge about Him to feel like I wasn’t behind. My relationship with God became about knowing more rather than enjoying and delighting in the One who saved me.
That is, until God showed me that the key to growing as a Christian is not to gain more and more knowledge and one day “arrive,” having learned all there is to know — instead, the key is always to remain a student of Jesus.
One day, I was teaching a Bible study, and during our discussion, one of my sisters in the Lord told us that when she was younger, she prayed to the Lord: “Keep me teachable.” She was nearly twice my age and yet was eager to learn from me and the Lord.
My friend didn’t know it at the time, but she was teaching me at that moment to cherish learning about the Lord for the rest of my life.
As I listened and watched her, I realized she so loved her Savior that she never wanted to “arrive,” as if she could not learn more about Him. Her desire for knowledge was commendable, but it wasn’t just so she could answer trivia questions. No, she longed to be in relationship with the Lord. She longed for the humility it would take to be a lifelong learner.
After all, it’s absurd for us to think that we can get to the end of learning about God. The depths of God’s Word and His character are inexhaustible, as Paul proclaims in our opening key verse: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33). We will be searching the depths for eternity!
If we desire knowing the Lord only to be able to say that we have knowledge, falsely thinking that one day we might “arrive,” we will miss out on two glorious benefits of the Christian life:
- The wonderful joys of learning and being taught.
May we never be puffed up because of our knowledge. (1 Corinthians 8:1b) Instead, my prayer for you and me is that the Lord would keep us teachable all the days of our lives. The Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) He will give us grace upon grace as we humbly seek to learn.
- A relationship with Jesus.
It’s scary to think that we can know a lot about God, and yet not really know Him at all. As we read Scripture, we are indeed gaining knowledge, but the purpose is to grow in our relationship with and love of our Lord. We cherish God’s Word because we cherish God.
I have had seasons of Spirit-filled, worshipful and consistent time in the Word and seasons when reading felt like a duty rather than a joy and delight. We all find ourselves struggling from time to time to read the Bible and interpret it correctly. And here’s the good news: That’s OK. Any time in the Word is time well spent. Time in the Word won’t always feel like a worship service, but every moment teaches you one more thing about your Lord and Savior. It’s not wasted!
When we change our focus away from merely gaining knowledge, we can watch our time with the Lord transform from duty to delight.
Like my friend, let’s long to be teachable, always eager to hear from the Lord through His Word.
Lord, we long to know You through Your Word. As we read, help us to enjoy our relationship with You. Help us to grow in our love for You, Lord. Take our temptation to read Your Word out of duty and turn it into delight. We love and worship You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
One way of maintaining a teachable spirit and experience the wonderful joys of learning and being taught while continuing to grow in our relationship with Jesus is, indeed, to regularly be in His Word. And a great way to study and be in His Word is to do so with others in Christian community, as many have learned through participation in Life Groups. It’s good to learn together.
As many of our Life Groups take a break over the summer to allow members to refresh, recharge then re-group, North Coast and our Single Adult Ministry will be offering multiple options to engage in community and learn with others. From one-night classes and events, to opportunities to get together and study for multiple weeks at each of our campuses; all are options for you to participate in at North Coast this summer. To learn more, check out the Classes & Events page on the North Coast website via this link. Watch also for additional information regarding our Summer4Singles Learning Series classes being offered at the Vista campus.
Staying home and couch crashing is boring and does nothing to improve your social skills much less provide any meaningful opportunity for you to learn and grow as a person. No one’s likely to come in and steal your couch or favorite easy chair if you’re not there to hold it down. Make this a summer of learning. There’s a good chance you’ll even make some new friends. Who can’t benefit from that?
Right here with you,