Acts 8:31 (NLT) The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It necessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.
Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.
There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.
Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.
Luke 10:21 (KJV) 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
There’s a huge blessing in being childlike than esteeming ourselves as wise and prudent.
Humility—child-likeness—it is God’s revealed preferred way to greatness; being Christlike also opens up windows of wonderful revelations, understanding, supernatural experiences, and insights that are hidden from the proud.
We trust the Lord; we trust Him in everything, and that includes divine paradoxical principles. His ways are always proven true and right. So, instead of tirelessly competing in this dog-eat-dog world, jockeying for ever higher position and increasingly greater knowledge, we chose the path laid out for us by our Lord. We live humbly, continually growing in child-likeness. He takes care of exalting us and filling our lives with wonders.
Psalm 79:9 (KJV) 9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.
Our salvation, deliverance and forgiveness are of indescribably glorious benefits and blessings to us, but it’s first and foremost for the glory of His Name. He’s the One Who’s able help and He’s always willing to.
We often find ourselves in need of His intervention. We make decisions that cause us to find ourselves in very unpleasant situations. Many times, it’s not because of our careless actions and decisions but because of the recklessness of others. But in all circumstances, we have hope.
Our God is closer to us than we can imagine or describe. We can call on Him anytime; we don’t have to wait for an appointment; His schedule is always open for us. And that’s very good; there are things and situations that can’t wait—life emergencies are real.
So we pray. It just makes sense. And for us His children, our prayers are faith-filled. We know that we know: He will always come through for us. And as assuring and comforting as that may be, us receiving His help isn’t our end desire; our ultimate purpose is to glorify our God and Dad through our experiences.
James 3:1 (KJV) 1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, greater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.
The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.
For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.
How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.
Isaiah 6:5 (KJV) 5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
The prophet Isaiah realized the sobering truth of His wretchedness and gave at least two reasons for His clear realization and humble admission. The first reason he gave was the uncleanness of his lips. The interpretations of which vary, but we can generalize it as uncleanness. This uncleanness wasn’t only in his personal sphere but even communal—the people around him were also unclean. The second reason he gave was him seeing the Lord. Seeing the Lord in His majesty and utter holiness has that kind of effect.
The holiest of us, left to ourselves, are unclean. The unholy in the presence of the Most Holy isn’t a good scenario unless it’s a process of cleansing and forgiveness. No matter how highly people esteem themselves to be, no matter how self-righteous, how much better they see themselves to be in comparison to others, their exaggerated view of themselves will embarrassingly shrink when presented with the picture of their true state and presented before the presence of the one and only true holy God.
It’s a good first step though to humbly admit our spiritual bankruptcy. It’s those who realize the poverty in their spirit who receive the kingdom of heaven. It’s good to see Who the answer to our need is. He Who is Holy lovingly, willingly, graciously, and abundantly imparts His holiness to those who reach out to Him in full dependence and surrender. We’re hopeful even when we see what’s devastatingly wrong with us, knowing that Someone can make it wonderfully right.
Psalm 86:11 (KJV) 11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Having a humble and teachable heart is essential to living in and for God. Having a pure heart is essential to fearing God’s Name.
We desire to follow after our precious LORD. The way we do that is by knowing His Word, His ways, and His will. This comes through spending time with Him and His Word. We can’t honestly say we’re living in obedience to Him if we don’t know what to obey. Else, we’ll be hypocritical, and that’s not the kind of heart we want to have. We want to keep our hearts pure before God; that’s one of the ways we honor God, and honoring Him is what we want to do.
We’re grateful to God because He teaches us and is willing to teach us. He’s always waiting, willing, ready to pour our His wisdom to us. So we come before Him, with sincere hearts, with loving fear of Him, with open hearts and minds, we fill ourselves with His precious truths.
Colossians 3:12 (KJV) 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering
We’re different—unique in so many ways. We’re part of God’s elect; not everyone’s a part. We’re holy—made holy that is; not everyone is. Being made different; we’re also called to be different—in our thoughts, character, and in our actions.
We’ve received abundant mercy; we are merciful—compassionate; freely we have received, we freely give. People speak of love very easily; it’s sad that they also treat it very casually. There’s a lot of lip-service, but not a lot of reality. We’re kind; we need kindness more than ever. Others say we live in a cruel world; rudeness seems to be the trend. It’s easy to understand why there are so many people living in deep depression. They need help; they need hope; they need to see that not everyone’s out to get them; not everyone is a competition or an enemy; not everyone wants to put them down.
We are gratefully humble; we don’t need people’s approval or praise; we’re not insecure because we find our significance and worth in our Lord Jesus; we don’t find it necessary to jockey for position because position isn’t what makes us important. It’s a joy for us to consider others better than ourselves. We’re meek; we understand that people need tender, gentle, loving care. We’re surrounded by fragile—sensitive people; many are them are already broken. We can’t change everyone, but we can change ourselves—for the better—continuously—increasingly better. And through us, the world is and can still be a better place. It may take a long time for us to see the difference; it’s okay, we have enough patience for that, and we’re still continually growing in it. We’re different—set apart for God’s specific purpose; we love it.