“One of my neighbors,” Stan began one morning, “is a teacher over at Brown’s Middle School. She and her husband were over for dinner last night.”
“Nice time?” I asked.
“Very,” Stan replied. “Great people and wonderful neighbors.”
“What does she teach?” I asked.
“A couple of different subjects,” Stan replied, “but mainly history. That’s her speciality, and I’ve heard she’s a very good teacher.”
Continuing, he added, “Last night we were talking about teaching in general and how she is able to engage her students in wanting to learn. Without the students wanting to learn, there is not a whole lot a teacher can do, so she spends a lot of time focusing on building into the students the desire to learn.”
“The love of learning?” I replied.
“That’s it,” Stan said. “Without that desire it’s hard, maybe impossible, to teach, but with it there is virtually no limit to what a student can learn.”
Continuing, he added, “Not unlike my relationship with God.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, “I have seen that with a lot of people. I saw it with me. I said I wanted a closer relationship with God, but I didn’t do anything about it. I just didn’t have the motivating desire to have a closer relationship with God.”
“Kind of like what you talk about with eternal life being about knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son,” I said. “If a person doesn’t have the desire to know them, it might not happen.”
“More than ‘might’,” Stan replied. “I would say that it won’t happen.”
“As well,” he added, “again with the person I know best, I spent a lot of time praying to be taught what God had for me, but any such desire to be taught ended with my prayer.”
“But something changed at some point,” I replied. “What was it?”
“One day I was praying and asking God to fill me with all He had for me,” Stan responded, “and all of a sudden I had this sense of God replying with something that really affected me.”
“What was that?” I asked.
“God’s response to my prayer,” Stan replied, “was something like He had heard that prayer from me many times, but He didn’t see that I had done anything to prepare for what I was asking.”
“What did you think that meant?” I said.
“Bottom-line,” Stan replied, “is that God made it clear I wasn’t teachable. I asked Him to fill me with all He had for me, but I hadn’t made any room for Him to do so. I was still filled with all of the stuff that kept out what God wanted to pour in.”
Continuing, he added, “God made it clear that for me to be teachable, for me to have a love for what God had for me, first I needed to make room for Him. The answer to all of my prayers to be filled waited for me to first choose to be emptied.”
“Is that kind of like the first step in discipleship?” I asked. “Of denying self?”
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “I needed to deny myself by choosing to be emptied of everything that was in the way of God’s filling. Until I did that, I could not proceed into a deeper relationship of knowing the Father and the Son more closely.”
Teach me Thy way, O lord; I will walk in Thy truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name. Psalm 86:11.
Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5.
Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who Sent Me.” John 7:16.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for wanting to teach me all there is to know about you, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I confess that too often I am not teachable because I choose to not be teachable; I choose to be taught other things and other ways rather than yours. Please forgive that foolishness and please help me in following each step of your lead as you seek to teach me. Please, Father, help me to be open to being teachable in accordance with what you want and have for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you think you are teachable in the sense of wanting to learn all that God has for you? If not, what might be in the way and how can that be remedied? Do you want to know God and what He has for you? Why or why not? What would it look like for you to be teachable just as God wants? Is that something you want? If so, do you know how it can happen?