Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You Teachable?

So many people claim to be "open-minded" and say that they want to learn. But do they really? As I look around me, there really aren't that many people who actually swim against the flow and live all that differently from the rest of the world. It seems to me that most people think you're nuts if you don't fall in line with societal norms, and people are afraid of the stigma that comes with it. Yet those who live under the one-size-fits-all rules are generally the ones criticizing those who are different, who have too much faith or live out their convictions unapoligetically. Do people really know the meaning of "open-minded"?

The problem here is that doing anything different from society presents a problem for some people because they are forced to re-think their game plan. The Bible speaks quite specifically to Christians on this very topic. We're called to be different. We're supposed to be the light and the salt of the earth, but are we?
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 ESV
This leads me to ask, are you teachable? Do you REALLY have an open mind? An open-mind isn't being willing to sway like the wind or to to be weak in your beliefs. It's all about whether we're willing to abandon our own thoughts and ways for the sake of being molded and shaped to whom He wants you to be. It's about giving up your ways for His.

The book I'm currently reading has brought to my attention the importance of being teachable. Joanna Weaver in "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World", explains that if we are teachable, we will be willing to give up our own ways to follow His. Being teachable goes hand-in-hand with dying to self and abandoning all of your preconceived ideas for whatever He has in store. If we aren't willing to give up all those things that have been plugged into our minds since birth, then what is the whole point here?

I was convicted to take a long, hard look at myself and I quickly realized that there are some areas where I haven't been so teachable. I have hung on to what I thought or what I wanted when the whole time He was saying, "I want you to do it My way." I, like many of you, have all this stuff that's been "programmed" in my head and it's hard abandoning everything I have known. Change isn't easy, and certain types of change are simply impossible on our own...this is one of those kinds of change for me. Changing the things that, to some degree, made me who I am falls well outside the boundaries of my own abilities.

I must admit, it stinks to see the flaws in myself but there is no other way to truly grow and learn than to accept His rebuking, ask for His forgiveness and pray for His help to change. We're rejecting Him and the opportunity to grow if we reject his rebuking, right? Not to mention, we can't hang onto our way, the world and His way all at once. He commands us to hang onto one--Him.
"Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." Revelation 3:19 ESV
We each have so many thoughts and way that have been plugged in our heads, maybe from our parents, certain experiences, or from our relationships. God takes us as we are, knowing we have all this stuff to wade through before we can ever come anywhere close to being what we are meant to be in Him. If we're not teachable, we'll never get beyond our own junk to see the light.

I compare it to purchasing an expensive electronic device, knowing that it has mostly pre-populated memory. Seriously, how many of us would buy something that had been pre-programmed to the extent that it had no memory leftover to make it your own, much less pay full price for it? I don't think I would. But our God does that for us, doesn't He? He bought you and me with His life (FULL price), making one stipulation: We must believe in Him enough that we're willing to allow Him to do whatever He will with us-- even if it means complete reprogramming.

He isn't asking us to completely delete our memories, or to immediately change. He's patient and gentle in that He will do it for us if we let Him and He will take it as slowly as we need to. Bf we aren't willing to change our ways, ideas and thought processes at any given moment, then we have two problems.
  1. We don't really have the faith in Him that's required.
  2. We're ultimately being disobedient.
That being said, if the whole purpose here is to be more like Him, we have to lose who we are in the process right? We can't cling to our own ways but yet say that we're living for Him. Living for Him means we give up anything to be more like Him. If we're operating on free will, and we are, then we have to make the choice because He's not going to make us do anything. We can choose to do what He says -His way-or choose not to do it at all. But if we choose not to obey, we have no right to complain about His lack of blessings for us later. He wants ALL of each of us.

Are you willing to ditch your own way and learn to do things His way? When He speaks, do you listen? Do you actually obey, or do you find yourself doing what you want? Are you one of those people who are embarrassed by people who don't "go with the flow"?

True love always costs the giver something. It cost Him His own life. Has it cost you anything to love Him?

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