Have you ever heard someone say that we need to have a teachable spirit? As a kid I heard this a lot. from teachers both at school and church but as with so many things from childhood many people said lots of things that sounded great but they never explained what they meant.
A few months ago I was in a conversation with hubby and I said something that made me stop and think about what I said. I said , I really enjoy working with people who have teachable spirits.” and as the day went on I began to ask myself what does that mean? What makes someone have a teachable spirit and some don’t?
So that’s when I started to really evaluate what it means. it’s taken months. Much longer than I had ever thought it would take. But in the end I have come up with 5 areas of teachability. I want you to really prayerfully seek out what God has to say about these areas of your life. after all it’s not about what we think about our lives BUT what God thinks about them!
(1) Are you more interested in taking in as much information as you can or are you eager to take what you learn and apply it to your life?
It’s not about how much you know (or think you know). What really matters is what you do with what you know.
Proverbs 1:5 ?NIV
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
(2) Are You willing to Learn in every situation that comes your way? Are You willing to ask God to show You what He wants you to learn from your current circumstances before reacting to them?
When it comes right down to it it doesn’t matter what we think about our circumstances OR what others think bout them. God has a very specific plan and purpose for our circumstances. This goes from the very minute to the extreme
(3) Do You have a spirit of humility? Do You go into any teaching with an attitude of what can I learn from this. (HINT : YOU CAN ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING BUT IT’S COMPLETELY UP TO YOU!!)
I know many people who will come away from a message or a Sunday school class saying they got nothing from it. OR they will say Oh I do hope so and so was listening to that. They really needed to hear that. the problem is we all need to really hear what is being said. I find it amazing that some people even feel the need to be insulting. This shows a severe lack of humility. Considering God has chosen that man to teach it shows a severe lack of wisdom as well.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
In Bible College this was seen frequently in young cocky students who came in thinking they knew more that the professor who has been preaching and studying God’s word longer than those students had been alive. There was a vast difference from the students who sought to learn from the professor verses the ones who sought to distract and argue with the professors. One group enhanced the learning process and the others created disunity and frustration. It kept the others from learning where the others fostered deeper learning usually by asking helpful questions..
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
(4) Do I let my emotions, attitudes, or preferences get in the way me learning what God wants me to learn? Do these things distract me and others from focusing on the greatest purpose of our lives: reaching others for Jesus?
I can’t tell you the number of times I have watched people spout off in anger just to eat their words later when they realized someone unsaved or new was watching them when they “sweated over the small stuff”. In one moment of the person being upset they ruined their testimony? was it worth it? Probably not. the Bible tells us again and again to put away all kinds of anger…and to be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Proverbs 14:29 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
Colossians 4:5-6 ESV
5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(5) Do we seek understanding in situations rather than jumping to conclusions?
So many times we fail to think or see that God is doing something far beyond ourselves. We get angry. We pound our fists on the table and we stomp our feet and we raise our voices and generally act like toddlers having a temper tantrum..
Many times if we just took the time to ask some well thought out questions AND then LISTEN to the answers and the heart that goes behind it. The reality is we are small minded people. To quote Mary Poppins “sometimes we can’t se past the end of our own noses. ” We become self absorbed by our rights and preferences that we forget that God tells us to lay them down and die to ourselves.
So How do I make a change? How do I become a teachable spirit?
Well if you are asking that question you are headed down the right path.
Here are three easy things you can do to change our attitude
- Start asking questions AND listen with an open heart to the answers.
- Start asking ourselves what can I learn from the person teaching me?
- Ask God to show yo what He wants you to learn and then listen to HIM because He WILL answer.
James 1:5-8 NIV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
One of the greatest things I have learned on this journey of becoming a teachable spirit is that this all comes down to a choice we need to make. Do we want to be used by God or. do we want to be used against God’s purposes. Satan doesn’t want us to be teachable. he wants us to be angry and stuck in our ways. When I think of a person who was transformed the most from t unteachable to teachable is the apostle Paul. He couldn’t see the truth because his eyes were blinded by anger and contempt for the “new way God wanted things to be done. He was angered so much by the gospel that he persecuted and murdered people because of their faith in Jesus..
It took Jesus striking him physically blind for his eyes to be opened and for his heart to be transformed to a teachable person. What’s it going to take fr you and I to be transformed to being teachable. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Will you choose> Or will God choose for you? OR will you go into eternity feeling angry , bitter and unfulfilled. The choice is ours to make.