Teach Me

Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
I wait for you all day long

The Lord is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way.
He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth
to those who keep his covenant and decrees.

Occasionally, my wife and I will have a disagreement. — I know…That’s crazy talk! Who ever has a disagreement with their spouse?! — But every now and then we find ourselves not seeing eye-to-eye on a given subject. Since we’re both pretty strong-willed, neither one of us is afraid of arguing our viewpoint. Usually, we are able to come to some sort of agreement without too much difficulty, but occasionally one of us will feel strongly enough that we dig in our heels and hold our ground.

I remember one time when we were having an argument and Elizabeth diagnosed my problem.

“You know what your problem is? You always think you’re right.”

Of course I do! If I thought I was wrong, I would change my opinion! If you can show me new information that I didn’t have before, or a flaw in my reasoning, I’m happy to reconsider my stance. No one intentionally gets the wrong answer. That would just be foolish.

The real problem, though, is when we don’t know what we don’t know. Ignorance is dangerous and can lead us down paths where we don’t want to go. Rather than being stubborn and opinionated, we must train ourselves to be humble and teachable. That is what the Psalmist is writing about in this passage.

Throughout Scripture, God is calling us to a higher way of living, a better way. The rules and restrictions that he places upon us are not arbitrary or capricious. They are intentionally designed to help us live the life of abundance and blessing that God desires for us. God calls us to be holy and righteous because that is the only way that we can accomplish what we were designed to do…to have fellowship with and worship God.

But holiness and righteousness do not come naturally to us. In fact, because of the distortion of sin, holiness and righteousness are the exact OPPOSITE of what comes naturally to us. So we must constantly be evaluating ourselves, adjusting our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors to fall in line with God and what he is doing in the world around us. But we can’t do that if we are not humble enough to learn his ways.

Life is hard. Making the right choice is difficult, and sometimes it feels like we’re just taking a shot in the dark. But that is not how God intends it to be. He has not left us to our own devices. He has shown us the way, through the Law, and through the example of Jesus Christ. Are we smart enough to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers and that God knows best?

Commit to living every day according to God’s ways. Seek him out and He will speak light, life, and wisdom into your day. I can’t imagine doing better than that on my own.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your revelation to us and patient instruction while we figure things out. We acknowledge the limits of human understanding, and seek to follow your ways instead. Help us to cultivate humility and a teachable spirit at all times. In the name of Jesus we ask this, Amen.

Sometimes We’re All Just Teenagers

(James 5: 16, NLT)

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Righteousness and prayer go hand in hand.  It just makes the most sense, doesn’t it?  If you are a parent (especially parent to a teenager) then you probably already have a sense of this concept.  I have a teenager, and I have to tell you, when he is pleasant, when he is following our rules, when he is being respectful and loving toward us, it makes us much more likely to listen to what he has to say when he is ready to ask for something or express his feelings to us.  I’m just sayin’!

It works pretty much the same way with us and God.  John 9:31 tells us, “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.”   I am telling you now, when we come to God as petulant, disobedient children – when we should (and often DO) know better – He isn’t going to hear it!  I’ve been there with my own child.  When he is out of sorts, raising his voice and completely in the wrong, I shut him down immediately.  I tell him to come back when he is ready to apologize and do the right thing.  I love him so, my son, and because of that love, I know it is not in his best interest to allow that sort of exchange to take place between us.  He must learn respect and humility, and when he is able to come back to me from a loving place, I am waiting with open arms and ears, ready to work with him and be a blessing to him in any way that I can – if that is what is best for him.  There has to be a certain level of love, respect, and trust there.

Likewise, we must love God first – coming to Him with respect and honor, and humbling ourselves at His feet.  We have to be willing, before anything else, to ask God for His grace – getting our failures and sins out of the way so that there is room for God to work within and bless our lives.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.

(Psalm 37: 3-5)


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, there is nothing that I want and need more than to be heard by You.  Help me to keep myself humble and righteous so that You are able to listen to me.  Amen. 

It’s a Slippery Slope Indeed

(1 Samuel 18: 12-15) 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

As we grow older, it’s inevitable that someone younger will come along who threatens our status in some way.  Maybe they will be better looking, smarter, funnier, more talented, sharper, more charming, have better ideas, or create successes in our areas of failure.  However it happens to manifest, there always comes that time when we are no longer the latest and greatest at what we do.  For some people this is unbearable, and it slowly begins to breed negative thoughts and feelings such as envy, jealousy, resentment, and even hatred.

Jealousy is nasty business.  It’s not a sin to FEEL jealous.  It’s not a sin to FEEL threatened and cast aside.  We are human beings and God gave us our feelings.  However, when we begin to allow those feelings to take root and bear their ugly fruit…that’s when sin is born and latches onto us like a hungry baby, feeding off of our every whim like sweet milk.   

James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”

We can’t allow jealousy to exist.  Instead we must cast it down with the truth of God’s word, knowing that because we have the spirit of God dwelling within us, we have power over our minds.  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Instead of allowing jealousy to lead us into sin, why don’t we try reevaluating our roles in the lives of others?  If we are called to love, then let’s truly do that.  In the body of Christ there is no room for competition and envy.  We have a responsibility not only to the world, but also to one another.  We must take part in the spiritual growth and development of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and consider doing so a privilege. 

So encourage each other and build each other up… (1Thessalonians 5:11)

When we are focused on love and encouragement, we become willing to take a back seat to someone else for a change.  We begin to realize that being an usher for the a new generation of leaders and “doers” is an honor.  When you have taken the time to feed into the life of someone else, when you have been willing to be humble and truly crucify the flesh, when you have resolved to walk beside (and yes, sometimes even BEHIND) someone with similar gifts and talents…that’s when you begin to conquer the “green-eyed monster” within.

Prayer:  Father God, I recognize my own tendencies to allow jealousy to become more than just a momentary feeling.  I see its potential to cause harm and all of the ways that it can damage lives and relationships within the church.  Help me to love and support my spiritual family and to remember the beauty and blessing that comes from sowing seed and watching it flourish in the lives of others.  Amen.

You Want Me To Do WHAT??

(John 13:12-15) 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Feet can be very gross.  Unless you have just been for a pedicure, your feet are probably kind of rough and maybe even sweaty and stinky.  I don’t know of anyone, beyond maybe a person with a weird hang-up with feet, who would just think, “Man, I really want to get on my knees and scrub those dirty feet!”  It’s an awkward, uncomfortable, and undesirable thing to think of doing!  Well, serving often means doing the stuff that no one else wants to do.  It is having the humility to go beyond your talents and the things you’re comfortable with, and just doing what needs to be done.  Jesus was a gifted teacher and somewhat of a celebrity…everyone knew who he was.  To his disciples, he was Teacher and Lord — their rabbi.  Jesus would never have been asked to wash their feet!  No one had to ask, because he selflessly volunteered.  He was doing what all good teachers understand is necessary — he was modeling the desired behavior.  Did Jesus mean that we should all literally get down and wash one another’s feet?  Well, yes and no.  Yes — because sometimes an old-fashioned foot washing can be a symbolic and spiritual way to show humility and love toward someone else, just as Christ did when he washed the feet of his disciples.  No — because Jesus wasn’t just modeling physical behavior.  He was showing his disciples (and ultimately us) what it means to humble and to have the heart of a servant. 

Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”  Because of the love and the sacrificial blood of Christ, we have been set free.  When we use that freedom to serve our own flesh, we are squandering the priceless and precious blood that was shed — the blood that paid the price for our freedom.  Serving others takes on many different shapes, colors and sizes.  It changes and shifts as we grow and mature in the Lord.  Sometimes it looks like ugly feet waiting to be scrubbed (you know…like changing poopy diapers and rocking crying babies in the nursery on Sunday…like scrubbing church toilets and floors…like pulling weeds and stacking chairs…), and sometimes it looks like that thing you’ve always wanted to do (you know…that thing you know you’re good at…that thing you feel called to do).  I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of the dirty feet…and more dirty feet means more hands are needed to wash them!  Literally, figuratively…either way, there’s work to be done.  If Jesus Christ — Savior of the world, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega — could get down on his knees and wash the dirty feet of his followers…if he could suffer humiliation and pain like nothing we have ever known…then surely there is nothing that any of us is above doing when it comes to serving one another.  We are the church…we are family…brothers and sisters in Christ…joint heirs with Jesus.  It takes a village, friends.  When we come together in love, humility, and with a spirit of commitment and purpose, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, it is by You and through You that we are free.  May we never waste that freedom on selfish motivations.  Instead, help us to find joy in serving…however YOU see fit for us to do so.  Give us willing hearts, and humble spirits, so that we reflect You in all that we do.  Amen.

But I Don’t WANNA!

(1 Samuel 3: 11-18) 11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’” 15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

Obedience is hard.  It just is!  Even when we’re grounded, and we’re fully committed, being obedient is difficult because it requires something substantial from us…humility.  For most people, humility is a personal sacrifice because to submit to someone else means that you have not only given up “ownership” of your life, but you have also said with your actions that you are not the one who matters most.

I’m sure it was more difficult than one could imagine for Samuel to share with Eli what God had shown him.  After all, it was harsh, and Eli had been Samuel’s surrogate father, his teacher, and his mentor for most of his life.  We know that Samuel laid awake until morning, seemingly in dread of having to be the bearer of such a “hard word” (as they say).  He didn’t want to do it.  His flesh resisted obedience, just like it all-too-often will.  However, when Eli demanded to know all, Samuel’s response was of the highest regard and the greatest humility…he held nothing back. 

Shouldn’t this be our response too, not only to God but also to those who have been given authority over us?  For in truth, if we are humble, then it’s not about ourselves anyway, and personal sacrifice then comes into play.  Fears are set aside, comfort is surrendered, we give our all, we tell the truth, we love by serving, and we OBEY. 

Sometimes part of serving God is submitting to the unpleasant.  We have to realize, like Eli, that the Lord is sovereign.  The Bible tells us that a man reaps what he sows, and unfortunately (even under the grace of Christ) the repercussions of sin must come to pass.  Consequences are absolutely unavoidable, but as God’s children we must recognize that He is the father and as such we must give to him the trust and respect he is owed.  In the words of Eli, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

1 Peter 5:6  tells us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  When we have been able to come to a place of humility and obedience, we become malleable in the hands of the Creator, who desires to make something marvelous and incomparable out of our lives…so that when He has completed the work within us, He is able to lift us up over His head as if to say, “Look at this masterpiece!”

(Psalm 25:9) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

Prayer:  Father God, I realize that without you I am nothing.  I accept your will and I recognize your providence in my life, even when I am facing consequence and hardship.  Help me to be humble in all ways, submitting myself as a servant to your call on my life.  I know that this is what you require of me if I am to be shaped and taught by you, my Creator and Lord.  Amen.

I Want To See

And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.”

Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road. (Mark 10)

I have always loved this story from the gospel of Mark. It is short and to the point, and yet it marks a huge turning point in Bartimaeus’ life. Isn’t it funny how something so huge and life-altering can happen so quickly, almost before we even realize what’s happening.

Although the Bible doesn’t give us a whole lot of follow-up, I’m sure that it took some time for it to fully sink in, for Bartimaeus to adjust to the new normal. Things that once were impossible for him were suddenly available options. I don’t know about you, but I would love to have God bless me in such a way that a whole new world of opportunity opened up in front of me!

However, before Bartimaeus could receive his blessing there were a few prerequisites that had to be in place:

  1. He was humble — Bartimaeus realized that he was literally helpless. There was nothing he could do to restore his own sight. He recognized that he needed a miracle and cried out to Jesus for mercy. He placed himself fully in God’s hands.
  2. He was persistent — When others tried to quiet him, he just increased his volume. He didn’t care if it annoyed them or made them uncomfortable. All he knew was that he had an opportunity to have an encounter with God, and he was not going to miss his chance. Nothing was going to stand between him and his blessing.
  3. He was ready — When Jesus called for him, Bartimaeus threw off his coat and jumped up. It didn’t take him long to respond when Jesus called for him, because he was anticipating a response from God.
  4. He knew what he needed — When Jesus asked him what he wanted, Bartimaeus didn’t have to think about it or check his wishlist. He knew what his greatest need was and he brought it before the Lord with a clear and direct request.
  5. He had faith — His faith was the open door that allowed God to not only restore his physical sight but also save his soul! In one life-changing instant, Bartimaeus’ physical AND spiritual needs were met, but it would not have been possible without faith.

What is your greatest need? Have you made it a matter of humble, persistent prayer? Are you ready and anticipating a response from God? Do you trust that his answer, positive or negative, is perfect and the best outcome for you?

PRAYER: Father, have mercy on us! Thank you for your gracious and merciful provision in our times of need. You have been so good to us, and your promises have never failed. For our current and future needs, we trust and rely on you! In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? 

(Psalm 133) 1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

I look back on some of the most difficult times of my life and I am amazed to think of how much better bad situations were made by simply choosing to be in unity with my family.  Discord only serves to exacerbate the negativity that is already at hand, but when we instead become unified, with one mind, we are bound together…made stronger by love. 

God hasn’t promised us that life will be perfect.  In fact, quite the opposite.  We are guaranteed, because of sin, to encounter hardship and temptation.  How we opt to react is entirely up to us.  “Good and pleasant” doesn’t refer to the circumstance, it refers to our reaction TO circumstance!    When you’re in the midst of opposition, whatever it may be, it’s always “good and pleasant” to be able to come home to a family who speak lovingly to you and to one another.  It’s “good and pleasant” to have a church family that is unified…that will edify one another in truth and love…that is a safe place to come to when your home life is falling apart. 

You know, we serve a loving God, but there are certain things that He cannot abide.  I bet you would never dream something YOU do would be on that list…but let’s have a look anyway.

(Proverbs 6: 16-19) 16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him, 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

I don’t know about you, but if God hates it…I don’t want to be doing it!  A family is a delicate thing, and the church family is no different.  It is to be respected, each member treated with love and kindness.  This is where unity begins.  When you feel “good and pleasant” feelings toward your brothers and sisters, you are then able to come together as one, rather than a clique here and another clique there.  Setting all else aside, a body of believers can be a very powerful force in the lives of one another and more importantly in the world.  But…it takes unity…and unity requires love. 

We ought never allow Satan to send us on a detour through the desert by giving into our own pettiness and weakness of the flesh.  Instead, we have to bite back that untamed beast of a tongue, resist the temptation to have those whispered conversations in the church hallways and restrooms, and work together to create an atmosphere that is, yes you guessed it, “good and pleasant.”

Prayer:  Father in Heaven, I am humbled by the promises of Your word.  I know that through it, I am corrected, instructed, and made better.  Help me to never sow discord among Your people, but to always remember that unity is the lifeblood of Your church.  Amen.

“Always Stay Humble and Kind”

Screenshot 2016-08-26 08.26.47

(Luke 9: 46-48, The Message) They started arguing over which of them would be most famous. When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. “Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me,” he said. “And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.”

“You’re getting a little too big for your britches.”  My siblings and I heard that a few times in our growing up years. My mother was teaching us humility.  We were made to apologize.  We were held accountable for wrongdoings, and we certainly were not treated as if one of us was better than anyone else.  My mother would defend us, had we been treated unfairly, but she was also that mom who would side with the teacher when we got a negative phone call home or a bad grade.  I never felt unsupported, but I knew she wasn’t falling for any kind of bull I shot her way.  The few times in my life that I did manage to pull the wool over her eyes…well…I had to think and plan to get away with it.  Soooo not worth the time and guilt!  My mother kept us humble by holding us accountable.  No matter the amount of tears, stomping, yelling, protesting…we would suffer the consequences, and we would be made to do what was expected of us. 

My dad’s version of teaching humility was a little different.  He simply modeled it through his life.  He was and is one of the humblest and meekest of all the people I have known in my life…always putting others before himself (especially his wife and children), and never seeking to be someone or something he was not.  A remarkably charismatic and intelligent preacher, he never sought anything further than seeing the lives of people truly, and miraculously changed by the presence and the word of God.  His humility often came in the form of an astonishingly great amount of patience and love.  Others above self…always. 

All of which to say, I am grateful for parents who saw the importance of humility and love…choosing to make those attributes a priority in their parenting.  We were always around people who were societal “misfits” so to speak.  My parents, through their own lives, taught us to be loving and accepting of everyone…to be Christ to others as much as possible. 

As children, I think that most everyone has the typical delusions of grandeur that are innate.  They’re housed in the part of our spirit that also produces our imagination, our sense of wonder, and our ability to love just about anyone.  We desire to be the best in all things.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the one and only thing from that part of our spirit that seems to survive past puberty.  We naturally get a little too big for our own proverbial “britches.”  Greatness isn’t a bad thing to strive for, but it’s how we achieve it that can take us into that place of haughtiness that is so dangerous and addictive to the human spirit.  Proverbs 16: 18 warns, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”  We have to be careful not to become like Jacob just before he wound up in a wrestling match with God, attempting to acquire everything we want and what we think we need by our own means and plans.  Jacob was definitely too big for his britches. 

If you become “great” by asserting it…proclaiming, “I am the greatest!!”…by going your own route…by acquiring things and wealth…by competing and winning…then you are looking at greatness as the world sees it, and not through the eyes of God.  But when you can accept that you need God…accept others as they are…accept yourself as God made you…your foundation of humility is the strength upon which true greatness can be built.

Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.

Prayer:  Lord I recognize that in order to make You bigger, in the world and in my life, I must make myself smaller.  Give me patience when I struggle through the times when you are breaking me down, making me humble, and helping me to build on that foundation.  Amen. 

The Conversation Is Over

For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”
Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
(Isaiah 46:9-11)

I have never been content with someone telling me, “That’s just the way it is.”  I want to know the reasoning behind why things are the way are, and I’m always looking for ways to tweak, improve, or make things more efficient. In many ways, this has helped me to be successful in my endeavors, but it has also been a source of frustration for those in authority over me.

When I was in school I was a good student, but I chafed against assignments that I felt were “busy work” or a waste of time. It was the same at home. If my parents asked me to do something, or had some rule in place, I wanted to know that there was a good reason for it. (Good in MY opinion!)  Inevitably, this led to conflict as I tried to convince my teachers and parents to see things my way.

There were many times when I would push too far. I would argue and cajole until I got myself in trouble! I can recall many times when my parents had to say something along the lines of, “I’ve already told you my answer. The conversation is over.” Now, my son is following in his father’s footsteps, and I deserve every bit of it.  Haha!

Unfortunately, this desire manipulate people and circumstances—to get our way—is not something that we outgrow.  For many of us, it is something that we must constantly watch out for or else it can have a negative effect on our relationships. It doesn’t even have to be something malicious. It can be something as simple and meaningless as choosing what to have for dinner, but we easily fall into the trap of putting our own wishes above others’. 

However, the worst time we can do this is when it comes to God himself. Too often we want to pick and choose which parts of his Word we are going to follow. We cherry pick the things that are the least inconvenient to our lives and gloss over the rest.  Other times, we try to bargain with God, as if his Law were unreasonable or outdated and we could somehow figure out a better way. Whenever Israel fell into this trap, the Lord was quick to remind them of just who they were talking to!

It’s this kind of thinking that has led to the crisis of faith so many modern believers and churches are currently experiencing with regards issues where God has already given clear instructions. They have lost their conviction about the witness and authority of Scripture, and have substituted their own conceptions righteousness and holiness to their detriment. They might feel better about themselves and their faith might be more palatable to the world, but they have abandoned God’s infallible truth for limited human understanding. That is a dangerous place to be.

Each time you approach Scripture, you must do so from a position of humility.  God is not looking for your opinion or approval.  He’s already decided the matter.  The conversation is over.  The question is whether you will live under the authority of God’s Word, or make it up as you go along?  I know what I’m choosing…

PRAYER:  Father, thank you for the gift of your revealed Truth.  We don’t have to wonder what it means to live a life of righteousness.  You told us, and then Jesus showed us.  Help us to be obedient to your Word and Christ’s example.  Amen.

“Misstra Know-It-All”

(Proverbs 2: 2-6, NLT)

2 Tune your ears to wisdom,

    and concentrate on understanding.

3 Cry out for insight,

    and ask for understanding.

4 Search for them as you would for silver;

    seek them like hidden treasures.

5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,

    and you will gain knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord grants wisdom!

    From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

One of the most important qualities that we can (and should) seek to develop in our spiritual lives is a teachable spirit.  With a teachable spirit, our hearts and minds are open to wisdom, knowledge, revelation, and correction.  We are able to learn from mistakes, from our elders, and from the word of God, when we are humble enough to admit that we don’t know it all.   

So often, when we are naturally gifted at something, and when we’ve had enough time to get some experience under our belts, we begin to get a little too big for our britches.  If you’re a singer or an artist, maybe you think you’re good enough that you don’t really need to practice anymore.  Well…NEWSFLASH…even someone as gifted as Whitney Houston had to practice!  And do you think that Michelangelo would have ever been asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel had he not first spent time as an apprentice, serving his teachers and learning his craft from their wisdom?  Natural talent will only take you so far…

Some of us are born with a teachable spirit.  These are the people who have a natural hunger for knowledge, who possess a genuine spirit of humility, and who learn with ease.  Then there are those of us who (like myself) must learn things the hard way.  We don’t listen when we are warned, we buck against authority, and we require big failures in order to truly learn.  Whichever one you are, or whether you fall somewhere in the middle of the two, there is always room to grow — because we are all works in progress.  Thankfully, in my walk with Christ over the years, I have been able to develop a more teachable spirit.  So I promise, it can be done!   There are just a few things that you will have to work on…

First, you must begin with a willing heart.  This is simply acknowledging that  you do not, in fact, know everything! 

Next, slow down and listen to what others have to say.  There are a whole lot of people in this world who have walked a few roads before you, who are willing to share the wisdom they have gleaned over the years through their own trials and errors in life.  Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”  God will strategically place others in our lives to help us learn and grow. 

After you’ve listened, think… and then ask some thoughtful questions.  You’d be surprised by how much you can learn when you simply ask some good questions. Everyone has something that they can teach us if we will just honor them with some of our time and actually engage in meaningful conversation.

Next comes the hardest part of this process…you have to be willing to accept correction from God and from others.  When you’re wrong, you’re just wrong, and though it is no fun to be told so, it’s important to admit it and, in turn, accept it.  Correction allows us to see errors for what they are, and to address them before they become habitual issues in our lives.  It can be painful to open ourselves up to this kind of embarrassment and bruised pride, but if we want to gain wisdom, it is essential. 

Finally, you have to commit to a lifetime of learning.  Our lives are a process of growth and change that never truly ends.  When we are able to develop a heart that is open and humble, ready to learn and be changed by that knowledge, we are then able to see the myriad of things that God is trying to teach us through His word, through His creation, through our life experiences, and through the many people that we encounter over the course of our lives. 

We can always be better; we can always know more; and we are so very blessed to have access to every bit of wisdom that we could ever possibly want or need.  We have only to open ourselves up to it.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for the way that You consistently reach out to me in every area of my life.  I know I am not always the best student, but I pray that You will continue to develop my spirit into one that is moldable, usable and ready to be filled with every bit of wisdom and knowledge that Your word, and this life that You’ve given me, have to offer.  Help me to be humble in all ways, and may it all be for Your glory and honor.  Amen.

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