Are You Living a Learner's Life?

Lyn Thompson, Pastoral Care, CTCA/Southwestern Regional Medical Center

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16

In the movie "The Natural," there's a poignant line where Glenn Close tells Robert Redford she believes we have two lives -- the life we learn with and the one we live after that.

There's a great deal of truth in that line, because, from the moment we're born, we're learning. And the process continues until the day we die, whether we want it to or not. But how do we know which lessons are valuable and worth implementing into our lives and which ones are detrimental and need to be discarded?

Because God knows our nature, that it is sinful and weak, and that we are prone to mistakes and wounding and often can’t discern truth or the right way to live, He hasn't left us to fend for ourselves. In fact, He calls Himself our instructor.

In John 14:26, Jesus tells His disciples that it's critical He die for our sins, be raised from the dead and return to heaven, rather than remain incarnated in human flesh on the earth, because then God the Father will send the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." In John 16:12-15, He goes into more detail, telling His disciples, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you."

God the Holy Spirit, as our instructor, teaches us things we're able to understand, helping us grow in wisdom from the experiences in our lives, the people who influence us, the teaching we receive, the mistakes we make. And what He teaches is from a heavenly perspective. When we listen to and act on His teaching, we grow in grace, goodness and righteousness. God's Holy Spirit still at work in people's lives keeps earth from becoming a total hell. If God removes His Holy Spirit, leaving people to their own devices and own interpretation and response to circumstances and events, eternal truth, which comes from God, and the redeeming influence of His character will be gone in our world and only death and evil will remain.

Another way God acts as our instructor is through the Bible, His Word. In the Scripture above, Paul tells Timothy why it's so important to get into God's Word and read it, asking the Holy Spirit to bring light and understanding from what we read. Jesus tells us to let His words abide in us. We can't do that unless we know what Jesus said, and that's in the Bible. We can't remember all He said. We can't remember all God has said since the history of mankind, but we do have a written record to instruct us -- God's love letter to us, the Bible. When we read and act on the information in it, the God-breathed wisdom and truth transform our lives by renewing our thinking. The world may say, "Get revenge." God says, "Vengeance is mine; you need to forgive by my power." The world says, "Everyone else is doing it, so it's okay for me too." God says, "Don't love the world or anything in it ... for everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires will pass away, but the man who does the will of the Father will live forever (I John 2:15-17)."

Still another way God instructs us is by the world He's created. In Romans 1:20, Paul says, "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Whether you look at the unchanging ebb and flow of the tides, the vastness of the stars and space, the power of gravity, the majesty of the mountains, the life-giving oceans, the diversity of ecosystems, cultures, people and nations, the cycle of death and life that occurs every time a seed falls into the ground until a new plant springs forth, God's nature and character are revealed. Animals, plants and minerals -- all express aspects of His character and love and have been influencing man’s thinking and life throughout the ages when they're studied.

In your life, are you learning the lessons that will serve you well for life and eternity, lessons God the Instructor wants to teach you, or are you learning only what the world wants you to know, things that will pass away and will only serve to give a momentarily pleasure followed by betrayal? Are you learning the lessons of eternal truth or those filled with the world's deceit and lies? Are you learning so you can live a better life based on what you've learned? Let God be your instructor for a while. Your eyes and heart will be opened to amazing things, incredible possibilities and transforming truth.


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