It wouldn’t take long to read the list of mankind who relishes being corrected, admonished or in some way being advised to make some changes or corrections about their lives, manner of living, or even in their parenting approach! The fact is, sometimes we act like we want to know more, but we don’t want to be told what or how to do things! And sometimes we are not shy about it! As C.S. Lewis once said, “Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind.” Did we get your attention? We certainly hope so.
Possessing a teachable spirit is essential for all aspects of life not just our spiritual life. We need it in our work, school, business, our relationships, raising our families. No matter how much knowledge, talent, experience, or wisdom we have, if we are or if we allow ourselves to become unteachable, if others believe they cannot come to us about something … whether it be a friend, loved one, etc., we will never reach the full potential the Father has desired for our lives. Having the privilege to address the young 7 to 9 year old Bible class this past week I suggested the need to always hear with their ears and their hearts. What is true for them at such a young age as they grow and develop … is just as true for each of us as adults!
The inspired writer James pens these words in chapter 3:17, 18: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” The old adage of “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up”, possesses much more truth than we are willing to admit at times.
I want to ask you a couple of questions:
- Are you teachable?
- Or do you despise it when others tell you what they think you should do?
- Do you seek instruction from others?
- Do you have a desire to “know” so you can become a better person, family member or member of the church?
- But even more importantly than learning from others, how is your disposition of heart to learn from God and His inspired Word? (James 1:19)
There is an interesting maxim that is found in the Cowboy’s Code of Conduct which highlights the value of listening and learning and it reads like this: “Never miss an opportunity to stop talking.” When we are talking or arguing or stopping up our ears from hearing, we are just not learning. Perhaps the exception to not talking and choosing to listen is when we are trying to ask a genuine question with a sincere desire to better understand! You see, our attitude speaks volumes about our hearts!
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it any way. Being advised, counseled, confronted or even challenged to hear something from someone else must always be measured by what God’s Word has to say. His Word is the preeminent source and authority for His people. Like the carpenter’s guideline: “Measure twice … cut once” We must always strive to be teachable and approachable, but we must always be resolved to please God first and foremost! The words of 1Thessalonians 5:21 have not, nor will they ever fade away, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1Thessalonians 5:21, 22)
There is no one … not a boss, supervisor, teacher, student, spouse, parent, child, member of the church or leader in the church who has all the answers! Only the God who made us and Who will one day judge us does! If we are not teachable … if we decide to not be approachable in this life in every relationship that life presents, we will not be our best and we must remember that our best has always been what God has required of us … nothing more and nothing less … just an undying desire to love, obey and serve Him in anticipation of the next life! Are you teachable and will you be approachable? James says we must!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.