School is about to start, but learning never ceases …

School resumes soon! For some of you, it’s next week, and for those with the longest wait, it’s still only about 10 days. While our culture has set the expectation that school is this “place” where learning happens, I’d like to offer that school is only one of the places where we can learn.

Jesus calls us to be disciples – pupils. So by His perspective, learning is part of our on-going identity. Learning is what we should expect to do every day.  It’s less of a place and more of a mindset.

I recall just getting started in grad school and one of my professors just casually mentioned something I’ve never forgotten.  Off-handedly he said, “You may think you’re here to learn – and I hope you do. But the better thing you’ll learn is how to learn… for the rest of your life.”  His comment helped me realize I thought of learning as some sort of finish line. And worse still, I was approaching it as some sort of pass-fail event. Cross the line and I could boast, “I’ve succeeded,” or fail to reach the finish line and then be tormented for failing.

Two of the worst hurdles to learning are pride and fear. But Jesus came to conquer both of these evil opponents.  His work was necessary NOT because we have learned every lesson perfectly and that we have applied all that we’ve learned. His saving grace is necessary precisely because the opposite is true. We have not learned.  We have not obeyed. We have not been right; we’ve been terribly, tragically wrong – and wrong about Him, the most important Person in the universe. So, vs. our pride, that humbles us. But He has surely come to save us, full of grace and truth. Where we were so off-track, wrong and wrecked, Jesus has come to our rescue. And vs. all of our worst fears, He makes us secure. After all, our Savior knows the answer to every question and the test that we had to pass, HE has perfectly – and then He freely has given us His scores!

So secure in Jesus’ love and power we can 1) eagerly learn and 2) joyfully help others in the learning as well. Learning is a privilege – it’s possible every day, in every place, with anyone I’m with. But also I can be an agent of learning as I encourage those with me. I can encourage those who try to teach me (imagine my 7th grade teachers reading THAT!). Galatians 6:6 says: “Let the one who is taught… share all good things with the one who teaches.”  So school is about to start, but in this life, learning never ceases …

Things to pray for:

  • Eagerness to learn. How have you approached learning either with pride (“I’m smarter than others”) or fear (“I don’t measure up to others”)? Ask Jesus to humble you and secure you by His truth and grace.
  • Teachable spirits. Ask the Father to help you to be teachable. He promises wisdom to those who ask in faith, so ask Him to help you learn and to grow in wisdom.
  • Encouragement to others. God’s Word calls us to share eagerly with those who help us learn, so ask the Lord to give you insight into ways you can encourage any of the people He’s placed in your life that have helped you learn.
  • Vision. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp the bigger picture of His work in your life – in all lessons, with all teachers. Pray for vision to see His good work in calling you to be a disciple of Jesus.