Wisdom Requires a Teachable Spirit By Scott Rodin
Why does wisdom require a teachable spirit?
Solomon has a command for us to get wisdom. He declares it in no uncertain terms. In Proverbs 4:5-9 he declares:
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.
These are the words of a father cajoling, almost pleading with his sons. He knows from experience that everything else in life is futile without wisdom. Young people run after many things, yet they often miss the most important thing.
Wisdom. Understanding. Regardless of the cost, pursue them. Hold onto them. Cherish them.
Receive Powerful Words
I was meditating on my favorite Psalm and maybe my favorite verse in all of Scripture – Psalm 86:11. It begins with David’s heart cry,
“Teach me your ways, Oh Lord.”
I decided to do a word search on ‘teach’. It comes up 361 times in Scripture. When you add ‘instruct’, ‘wisdom’ and ‘understanding’ you are over 800 uses in the Bible. I think God is trying to tell us something.
Have Teachable Spirit
This all leads me to wonder, do I have a teachable spirit? Do I pursue wisdom and thirst after understanding each day? Tough questions that bring me to another one, do I really expect God to teach me something each day?
As leaders we know the importance of being disciples of Jesus. We are not called to just follow along after Jesus, we are called to learn from Him. His disciples called Him teacher, Rabbi. His whole time with them was an ongoing classroom where he taught them about the kingdom of God and their place in it.
Is there anything more precious to us than to sit at the feet of Jesus, to listen and learn and be filled? If so, how much of our day is dedicated to this all-important task? Where is it on our daily ‘to-do’ list? Do we pursue it, ‘though it cost us everything’?
If you’re like me, I could use some help developing a more teachable spirit. So here are three steps that I pray help all of us better steward this opportunity to learn from our Master, three disciplines to help us rekindle a teachable spirit.
Repent of Arrogance
What closes us off from a teachable spirit? Is it anything less than an arrogance that perhaps we don’t need to be taught? We may disagree and blame it on a busy schedule, other demands on our time or worldly distractions. While these are the symptoms, the root cause is an absence of a burning desire to be taught by God. If we had such a desire, these other excuses would fade away. Whatever we value we make time for.
So, the first step in rekindling a teachable spirit is repentance. We must confess that we do not crave instruction or passionately pursue God’s direction. As leaders we can become quite comfortable relying on our own wisdom. And that is spiritual arrogance. Repent of it, and let the Holy Spirit convict our hearts, reset out priorities, name and come against our distractions. Let’s pray each day for her to create in us a hunger for God’s wisdom and a thirst for understanding that only comes from His word.
Prepare to Learn
Anyone who has ever tried to teach anyone else knows that without an attitude that wants to learn, it is near impossible to teach anyone anything. What would it look like for you and me to start each day with a breathless excitement anticipating what God was about to teach us? What if we looked for it, expected it and rejoiced when we received it?
Can we begin each day with the heartfelt prayer,
“Teach your ways Oh Lord. Today. Teach me. I am ready, I am listening.”
Do we really believe God would not be ready to pour out on us His wisdom if we entered each day with such an open and ready spirit?
Prepare to Be Changed
Perhaps the scariest thing about letting God teach us is that it will change us. Guaranteed.
God will teach us who He is, who we are and how we are to live. He will teach us to humility and sacrifice. He will teach us patience and endurance. He will teach us to be generous, to love, to have compassion and to forgive. All of these will challenge the attitudes we protect and the sin we hide. God’s teaching opens us up and cleans us out. It is hard work and often uncomfortable. But it the way of the disciple. If we are to be like Jesus, we must be taught by Him, and the change we will experience will be the greatest journey of our lives.
Are you ready to cultivate a more teachable spirit? Are you thirsty for wisdom and hungry for understanding?
Start today and see what God may have in store for you as you sit at His feet and drink in all He has for you as His beloved child.
Scott Rodin is president of The Steward’s Journey and Kingdom Life Publishing. He also runs Rodin Consulting, Inc. He is a Senior Fellow of the Association of Biblical Higher Education and is past board chair of ChinaSource and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
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