“A Teachable Spirit”
March 10, 2016
Message Summary: “Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long” (Psalm 25:4,5). Notice that the Psalmist’s receptivity to being taught is expressed twice and he directs it to God. Like the maturing Christian believer, he had a growing knowledge of the nature, character, and precepts of God, yet he continues to implore God, “Teach me.” Do you have a teachable spirit today?
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“If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You” (Exodus 33:13). “Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long” (Psalm 25:4,5).
Teachers are usually the ones to ask their students questions, but one of the greatest questions a student can ask a teacher is, “Will you teach me how to _______?” Such questions demonstrate a teachable spirit from the student and that student can be six or sixty six; age is not a factor. I demonstrate this by a conversation Brooksyne had with a young mother who approached her after church a couple months ago.
Brooksyne invited several children to sing a song and share some memorized Scriptures as she occasionally does when she is leading worship on a Sunday morning. After church the mother and her precocious three year old approached Brooksyne and said, “Jonathan pointed to you while you were working with the children and said, ‘I want her to be my teacher.'” Of course such an expression coming from one so young touched Brooksyne’s heart and, with the glowing smile that might come from a teacher, she shared the story with me on the way home from church. Having a desire to learn can come at a very early age but it is desirable that we keep a teachable spirit through every season of our life.
A teachable spirit keeps our hearts and minds in tune. Do you occasionally feel like your communication with God is out of tune or not in proper sync? You know the direction you want to go but there seems to be a lot of “squeak, squawk, or static” along the way. You’re not quite “on pitch”?
The static of everyday life may include family conflict, work related stresses, physical challenges, financial hardships or anything that clouds the path God has laid out for us, as revealed throughout His Word. Here in America there is a tremendous amount of static in regard to this fall’s presidential election. It is tempting to pray that all of these obstacles be removed from our lives, yet it is through these challenges that God reminds us of His promises, reveals His power and shows His purpose to us.
I pray for myself and others that we will have a “teachable spirit” as a lifelong characteristic that guides us through the variables of life. During each stage of life our sinful human nature can manifest itself with a stubborn, unteachable spirit. We might see or experience it in the cocky youth and young adult years, the smug middle aged, and the cynical, know-it-all senior years. Instead we need an enduring teachable spirit that will guide and sustain us until the clouds pass over, the static is cleared, and heaven is closer in view.
Moses, who at 80 years of age was demonstrably instructed by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, made this request of God, “If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You” (Exodus 33:13). Moses made this request of God after the Israelites rebelled against God and their leader, Moses, because he “was so long in coming down from the mountain” (Exodus 32:1). They grew weary of the “waiting” process and proceeded to build a golden calf and worship it in place of the living God.
Our second daily text is an excellent lifelong verse: “Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long” (Psalm 25:4,5). Notice that the Psalmist’s receptivity to being taught is expressed twice and he directed it to God. Like the maturing Christian believer, he had a growing knowledge of the nature, character, and precepts of God, yet he continued to implore God, “Teach me.”
In doing so he awaited God’s instruction on how His ways are to be implemented in his particular circumstance. This teachable spirit fundamentally acknowledges, “You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” That’s the outlook on life I sure want to have!
Even though God is the ultimate source of all teaching, He uses a variety of channels to teach us. His ways are fundamentally discovered in His Word, but the lifelong student will recognize the input from prayer, from other believers, from nature itself, and providential circumstances as well.
Do you have a teachable spirit today?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that we must do more than just read Your Word, but we must apply Your truths so that we and others see the work of Your Spirit in our lives. The Israelites looked to You for guidance in the cloud by day and the fire by night. They learned when to wait and when to walk. It is in the waiting times that we learn endurance and it is in the walking times that we learn to trust. There is much learning that takes place whether we are being still or whether we are on the “go”, that is, if our spirit is teachable. Whether we are moving forward or staying still our hope is in You all the day long. Amen.
We had quite a number of interesting comments concerning yesterday’s message including one who wrote: “I play sax in our church orchestra at age 91.”
A retro photo of a skating experience back in Northern Pennsylvania when we lived in St. Marys. Ester was only 3 at the time and wanted to “skate” along with her daddy. I am told that when I roller skate I look like Herman Munster, from the old 60’s TV show. This observation is painfully true, although I hope it’s not referring to my facial features! I am stiff and gawky and at over six feet tall I scoot more than skate, let alone fall gracefully. Now I could be hurt over this, but I know it’s true. Roller skating is just not one of my athletic skills.
Now we play it safe, sitting on the bench rather than skating, as we joined the younger folks at our annual Church Skating Party last night. It was also Ester’s 27th birthday, thus the party hat and the cake for refreshments. She’s wearing her favorite Mark Lowry T-shirt that declares, “Dogs go to Heaven” very loosely based on Psalm 36:6.
Tomorrow morning we are taking the train into Philadelphia. After our breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market we will visit the Philadelphia Flower Show. We have neighbors who operate the “Cramer’s Posie Patch”, a large commercial flower farm and have received two gratis tickets to attend the show, for which we are thankful!
“Show Me Your Ways” (Psalm 25:4-5; Psalm 86:11) Video Todd Fields For about 25 years Integrity Music had a series of CD’s with Scripture set to music which we really enjoyed and to this day many times when considering a text a song from this series comes to mind. Here is a YouTube channel that has many of these songs.
“My Hope is in You” Video Aaron Shust Brooksyne’s Note: This song, based on Psalm 25:5b, helps us take our focus off the problem and shifts it to the Problem Solver, our faithful God. The line, “I will not be shaken by drought or storm” firms our resolve to remain faithful in the most difficult of circumstances. Most recently Ester got very sick this past Sunday evening, causing her to throw up repeatedly, being unable to even have a sip of water accompanied by chills, a fever, and some difficulty with her breathing. As many of you know she has ongoing challenges with her heart due to her congenital heart disease. Her oxygen saturation is only 80% so her shortness of breath always gets our attention. In addition I was concerned with dehydration due to her being extremely thirsty and yet being unable to take in a sip of water. What encouraged and strengthened me even as I prayed over her was this very song as Ester had it playing over and over on her iphone playlist when I would check on her. I kept hearing “My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long. I will not be shaken by drought or storm. A peace that passes understanding is my song and I sing my hope is in You, Lord.” And there was a peace that came over us especially after the fever lifted and she slept comfortably through the night, improving in her health the next day.
Aaron Shust: I volunteered at one of Aaron Shust’s concerts and learned to really appreciate his spiritual heart. He isn’t just writing nice music but he’s had opportunity to put into practice that which God has given him to write about. He and his wife were put to a new test following the birth of their third son in 2012 who was born with Down Syndrome. You can read about their experience in his blog and how God really drove home the lyrics of the song, “My Hope is In You” that he wrote a year earlier in 2011.
“Teach Me Your Ways O Lord” Video Paul Baloche
“Teach Me Thy Way (Psalm 119:35-41)” Video Maranatha! Singers
“Lead Me, O Lord (Psalms 5:1-3,8,12)” Video Scripture Memory Songs
“Characteristics of a Teachable Spirit” by David Murray (Blog post)
Two contrasting attitudes about a teachable spirit that I have observed:
A very devoted couple pastored for a number of years, served as missionaries for many years, denominational leaders and both continued in service while in their seventies. I still recall their attentive and teachable spirit as they sat under a much younger pastor who faithfully preached the Word. It was a blessing to watch them engage with people of all ages and pray for those who had needs.
In contrast a younger couple who had seminary training with aspiration for more formal education took on a role in their local church. However they did not demonstrate a teachable spirit but rather one of spiritual pride based on their formal education occasionally expressing the superiority of their view based on their education background. Their lack of interest in others that they might encourage or mentor them in the faith was evident as they pretty much stayed to themselves. In addition there was much they could have learned from some of the elder members and ministers in that congregation.
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