Spiritual Formation

5 Ways to Learn Something Every Single Day

October 16, 2014

 

The worst kind of teacher/preacher/spiritual leader is the one who thinks he cannot learn anything else.  Those who feel like they are too old to take notes typically live a boring, stale, and somewhat prideful life.  God has called us to be perpetual, persistent pupils until we see Him in all His power.  The most influential people, the most effective voices in our generation are those who have not “arrived.”  Arrival, in its purest form, simply means to be done, to be finished with the course.  Those who “have arrived” really have nowhere else to go.  Or as John Gardiner said, “Most of us plateau when we lose the tension between where we are and where we ought to be.”

Therefore, the most effective leaders are really the most intentional learners.   God is honored in our contentment, but He is never glorified in our complacency.  Complacent leaders rarely experience the fullness of God’s power in their lives or ministries.  Therefore, we need the “tension” as Gardiner contends; tension that propels us from our lackadaisical position.  Tension that painfully drives us to the next ring of the ladder. Tension that pushes us out of the proverbial nest.  Tension that causes us to examine our motives, our dreams, our heart’s condition.  Without tension you may find safety, but you will never go beyond where you are.  John Maxwell states it well, “To know who you are becoming requires you not only to know where you are now, but also to know where you are going and how you need to change to get there.”

We have too many leaders who have arrived.  Therefore, in frustration, we bang on our pots and pans, trying to cook for the guests.  We grow tired, bitter, even hateful.  We, like Martha want everyone to pay special attention to our glorious, well-prepared meal.  Meanwhile, Martha’s sister remains a student.  She has no one to impress, no degrees to show, no applause to receive.  She is bowed to the earth, listening intensely as the Messiah speaks the Words of life.  She has not arrived, and in her studious position Jesus declares that she has chosen the “good part.”

She was learning of the Lord…those who choose the “good part” always are.  To be a consummate student consider the following opportunities we all have on a daily basis:

 

1. Look at Every Situation as a Possibility to Learn

Keep your eyes open and your ears attentive to any and every situation of life.  Most of our knowledge is discovered in the details.

“Each time you decide to grow again, you realize you are starting at the bottom of another ladder.” –Ken Rosenthals

2. Look at Every Person as a Teacher to Hear

I can learn something from anyone.  Some people teach us what to do, while others teach us what not to do.  Be a student of people, and allow their accomplishments or mistakes to train you well.

“When I spend more time trying to fix myself, I spend less time trying to fix others.” –Kenneth Kuykendall

3. Look at Every Trial as an Opportunity to Grow

Authentic growth is accompanied with audacious groaning.  Allow trials to reshape, reform, and renew your heart in a better direction.

“The great thing in this world is not so much where we are but in what direction we are moving.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

4. Look at Every Day as an Assignment to Fulfill

Live every day as though it is the only day to be examined at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Take today’s assignment and finish it for the glory of God.

“If you think what you did yesterday was great, then you haven’t done much today.” -Lou Holtz

5. Look at Every Mistake as a Way to Change

Don’t allow your failures to keep you from moving ahead.  When you mess up, get up, step up, and go on.

“When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown” – Hugh Prather

 

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