“Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.”——-Proverbs 4:13
We would all like to think that we are teachable. But when it really comes down to it, most of us are quite stubborn. As believers, we must always be striving to learn and adjust our beliefs and lifestyles to God and His Word.
I think we would all agree that it is often difficult to talk about spiritual things when we sense areas of disagreement. Instead of backing away, it is good for us to be able to talk about serious matters of faith and practice. In order to have these discussions, we must be willing to listen and to carefully examine the claims that may differ from our own. This doesn’t mean that we must casually give everyone the opportunity to hear what they may have to say, but rather those known to have earnest concern and love for the Truth.
There are those in the more liberal/emergent camps that would like to have us believe there is truth in all things. This ends up leading to a tolerance and acceptance of basically everything. A tolerance without seeking Truth isn’t really looking for what is right, but only a dialogue that ultimately affirms each person’s beliefs and leads to universalism. In seeking to know the Truth, there has to be error, heresy, and false teaching on the other side. And although there may be some gray areas that may not be a genuine threat to salvation in Jesus, we must be careful to not embrace everything as beneficial, but always be checking all things out against the Bible.
One of the questions that I have found helpful in evaluating if I or others are teachable, is to think about the things that we have been taught, believed, or practiced, that we have changed because of our reading and studying of the Bible. Think about that for a moment. Not something I have believed or acted differently because my denomination, church, pastor, book, or someone else that convinced me, but something I have changed because of seeing it myself in Scripture. Some examples might include beliefs on prayer, spiritual gifts, eternal security (once saved, always saved), rapture/end times, or many other things. It might take a bit of time, but if we are finding ourselves struggling to find anything we have changed because of our time in God’s Word, it is good for us to evaluate really who and where we are getting our understanding of faith.
Something that tends to happen when our beliefs are challenged, is that we automatically get defensive. It is difficult to think we could possibly be wrong. This becomes even more apparent when the beliefs we hold on to the tightest become threatened. That is why we are so quick to go along with those who we agree with and dismiss those who might question our beliefs or warn us of those who are teaching unbiblical things.
At the core, being teachable requires great humility and seeking to know and apply the Truth to our lives.
Without humility and seeking the Truth, we leave ourselves vulnerable to all sorts of unbiblical things. When we hear things that seem to fit our own way of thinking or align with my lifestyle, we don’t often question these things. But as soon as someone says something in opposition or merely raises questions as to if those things are true, we tend to lash out. Instead, we must be open and willing to challenge our beliefs and actions to make sure we are in obedience to God and His Word.
When confronted by things that dispute our current beliefs and lifestyles, we should carefully examine the sources and not stubbornly hold on to beliefs that we end up finding are contrary to God and His Word. This can be embarrassing and expose our own need to grow in the Truth. But rather than letting pride get the best of us, it is good for us to realize that we all have blind spots and need one another to help build up our faith in the Lord.
There are many attacks today upon Biblical faith. Whether it be hyper-grace, differing views of the atonement, conduct and lifestyles as believers, contemplative spiritual mysticism (CSM), and so many other things, we must be on guard against falling into unbiblical beliefs and practices. Being teachable means that we continue to discern what is true from Scripture and protect ourselves against all other things contrary.
My hope is that we all would spend some time truly evaluating if we are teachable. Let us think about the things that we have changed in our beliefs and lifestyles because of our time in God’s Word and not simply because of other influences. We may not always agree on every minor issue of faith in Jesus, but as we seek to know the Truth, may we each grow ever more faithful to living out our faith to God and His Word.