Growing up school was pretty easy for me. Most subjects came naturally, and I could breeze through with minimal effort. Math, however, was a massive exception. No matter how much I tried math always seemed completely incompressible (especially when random letters and symbols got throw into the mix). Because I typically did so well in school, and felt that “being smart” was a big part of my identity, I never wanted to ask for help. I felt that being smart meant being able to do things without help, so I refused to getting the extra teaching and assistance I really needed. I got through the minimum amount of math I needed to go to college (with the lowest grades of any classes I took), and then went to elaborate lengths to take the absolute minimum amount of math in college. Quite surprisingly, I did substantially better in college math, even though the material was much harder. The reason? Well, I was actually excited to ask for help, because the person I got to ask was a brilliant and incredibly good looking (dare I say hot?) senior math major (who I’ve now been happily married to for 16 years). Because I was willing to be teachable I came to understand the concepts, and succeeded at a much higher rate then I could have ever dreamed.
The more I look at us as Christians I think we have a severe teachability problem (myself included). We don’t want anyone to tell us what to do, offer us a new perspective, challenge our ideas, broaden our horizons, or push us to go deeper. Somewhere along the line we’ve come to see getting advice as some form of weakness. Yet, the Bible is very clear that we are to always be open to challenges, new ideas, and teachings. Let me give a few examples:
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. Proverbs 9:9
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
I personally love the straightforwardness of Proverbs 12:1. If we are not willing to listen, be taught, and even be corrected, how can we truly grow into the disciples God needs us to be? I encourage all of us to take time today to reflect on how teachable we may, or may not, be. If you find yourself to not be open to the instruction of God and others, think about why that is, and start making changes to be more open to Godly teaching. The more teachable we are, the more impact we can make for the Kingdom.