Being Teachable

TEACHABLE; ‘to be able to learn by being taught.’ 

When it comes to biblical things, your first instructor is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God together. There is nothing important in the world that isn’t covered in the Bible. There are many resources to help you study the Word of God. My personal favorite way to study is word studies. You choose a topic, and find the words in the Bible most relevant to that topic. So, if I am studying ‘Mercy’ I would search for that specific word, ‘Mercy’, and other words relating to it. Then I would read every passage containing that word to get a full understanding of what the Bible says about that topic. (I generally stay away from commentaries and just allow the Holy Spirit to define and explain the Bible. I have found that commentaries can sometimes trip people up with the preconceived ideas of the author.) Through the Old Testament we can also see the personality traits of the wicked and the mistakes of the righteous. We can understand what the right thing is through the biblical testimony of those Bible characters we all know, and what the narrator (God)  has to say about events and people. There are, however, those out there who would say that you don’t need another person at all, ever! These people are usually clinging to the verse 1 John 2:27 “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.”Although the fact that we don’t necessarily need someone to teach us is true, it certainly helps in those first few years. You should put your pride away to let someone else help you. An arrogant person cannot learn by being taught, they are not teachable and they will refuse to acknowledge that God gave the church certain people with the spiritual gift of teaching! (ACT. 13:1, 1 COR. 12:28, EPH. 4:11.) Why would God give the church people blessed with the ability to teach if He didn’t intend for any of us to be taught by them? Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Jesus Himself commanded us to teach all nations what He taught the apostles! So, God did give the church teachers!

Without the characteristic trait of teachability, you can’t advance; unless you are willing to go through the process of making mistake after mistake. “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Proverbs 29:23.

Being teachable also requires you to keep an open mind. By ‘open mind’ I mean you cannot just assume that you’re right all the time. You cannot assume that teachers that you may idolize are right all the time either! Just because someone doesn’t go to your church doesn’t mean they are automatically wrong. Keep your mind open to the fact that you may be mixed up! Listen as if you are wrong.

You should not scoff at other people’s ideas or  instructions. If someone is offering to help you learn something, no matter what the subject is, you should always assume they know what they are talking about, unless they give you an obvious reason to stop trusting the information they’re giving you. For example, if you find a glaring discrepancy between what they are saying and what the Bible teaches. Just like the Macedonian Church in Berea, “…they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11. 

Before you allow anyone to teach you about biblical things your first act should be to make sure that they are saved themselves. If you inspect a house, the first thing you look at is the foundation, and we are all temples. I found the easiest way to tell if someone is saved or not is to ask them for their testimony. Sometimes Christ’s sacrifice on the cross won’t be a part of it at all and instead of detailing his sacrifice they’ll tell you a story about how they’re saved because they quit drinking, or because they ‘felt something’ once in a church service.

In their testimony, if their own works play any part in their salvation, or if they reached salvation through another god, the foundation isn’t good and you don’t have to worry about wasting their time or yours because you already know that they are not reborn in the Spirit. Truly saved people aren’t saved by faith in addition to their own good deeds or their repentance from sin. Jesus’ one time death on the cross doesn’t need anything added to it for it to be sufficient enough to give salvation to the whole world, especially not our pitiful works. It is either our works (which fail every time) or God’s grace. It is not both.

Romans 11:6 “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it (salvation) be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” You cannot have it both ways.

So I am very clear in what I am saying, Turning From Sin to Get to Heaven is Working to Get to Heaven! “…And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;” Jonah 3:10a  Works equals turning from evil ways. 

There is another ‘gospel’ out there that is based on works. People will tell you that ‘getting right with God’ is what it takes to get to heaven. No. They will say that ‘You better stay on the right path..’ No. Don’t let them deceive you into hopeless work. Trying to earn something that you can never afford. If you are saved, then you are saved. There is nothing you can do to earn it and there is nothing you can do to keep it. Simple. It is fully relying on the mercy of God all the time. Paul wrote about this other gospel for us to beware of, (a gospel of works!) “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4. 

We should know when another gospel is being preached. We should be careful of the teacher. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-14. There are many such warnings in the Bible. Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

So yes, there are false teachers out there and you shouldn’t listen to everyone, but that doesn’t mean that there is no one for you to listen to! There are many Gospel-preaching Bible-believing churches out there willing to help you study and learn the Word of God! You just have to be interested, be willing to be taught, and above all pray and ask God to lead you to the one He wants you to be a part of!

Pride

We live in a world that seems to push us to be proud of who we are, where we are from, the color of our skin, the way we look, our life choices, how much money we have, our position or title. We are inspired daily to be proud of everything, but there is very little inspiration to get up and do something worth while! Funnily enough, those with the least amount of actual accomplishments are often the most proud.

We are often encouraged by social media personalities to look in the mirror every morning and say nice things to ourselves in order to build our self confidence and create better lives, but doesn’t that seem arrogant? Am I the only one who thinks that this is insanity for some? Is pride in what we do or who we are really a good thing? Does it help anyone in their day to day life? Having strong self confidence doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to lead successful lives, does it? What if an already too-confident person says nice things to themselves in the mirror every day? What if by telling people to do this we are creating egotistical monsters? If you have a firm understanding that not all people are beautiful, rich, successful, smart or funny, then you have to know that some of these personalities are standing in front of the mirror, and lying to themselves. Is that healthy? As much as we all would like to believe that manifesting works, saying something over and over doesn’t make it true.

Now, if we stopped and took a look at the character traits of the successful people in our own lives, would arrogance be something that would describe them? Could we seriously imagine them looking into their own reflection and drawing encouragement from lying to it? Maybe I’m wrong, but that whatever they see in the mirror doesn’t seem to be where most successful people get their confidence from anyway. They get their confidence from something bigger than who they are. From believing  truths like kindness to others, giving undeserved forgiveness, and working hard. They are successful because they put others before themselves. They spend time serving other people instead of themselves. They look toward the good of the whole and not the individual. They don’t feel the need to brag about their success to others. They aren’t arrogant.

Each of us is responsible for taking a step back from time to time and assessing ourselves for the good of everyone around us. Have you ever met someone who has no idea that they are arrogant? How do you even know? Well, can you take constructive criticism? Do you often give other people advice when they don’t ask for it? Do you find yourself over speaking other people on a regular basis? Perhaps people don’t even begin talking to you because they know they wont be able to get a word in anyway. Are you consumed with worry about what other people will think about you? Constructive criticism is something that every successful person has in common. They are (or were at one point in their life), able to sit down and listen to someone else give them advice, without arguing, lying, denying or shutting down on the inside.  The ability to learn through correction is something that arrogant people lack. Unfortunately, I’m sure that I have met more people who lacked this ability than I have met people who have it. Pride has an attitude that says, “I know everything. They can’t tell me!” Prideful people do not do well with authority because of this. They have the mentality of a rebellious teenager; they already know everything! You can’t tell them what to do, because they are so much smarter than those in authority over them. Whatever they decide is best for them must be best for them. They often believe that not only should they be in authority over themselves, but that they should be in authority over everyone else as well. They love to slander current authorities while telling everyone about what things would be like if they were the ones in charge. Arrogant people are often the ones giving people advice. Not because they were asked for it, either! Prideful people have a lot to say about everything, no experience necessary. They are often know-it-alls, willing to lie about their experience level than to say, “Hmm, I don’t know about that. I’ve never been there.” They are often insensitive to other people’s feelings, focusing on the most important thing to them; which is their own image. Non stop talking about their favorite subject; them. They will usually not allow you to change the conversation to anything that they are inexperienced in. This attitude only leads to isolation and head shaking from whoever they’re trying to impress.

The worst part about being full of pride is the placement of one’s own self-value. It is self-destruction guaranteed. Arrogant people are often those who base their own personal value on material things like money, temporary things like their appearance or power, or maybe in their own lifestyle choices. Money can only get you so far. It can’t buy things like character or love, and beauty fades and disappears as we get older.

I had a friend once, who spent a lot of money on two things; anti-aging beauty products, and tools for affirmation, and manifesting. It was nauseating, but I could imagine her standing in front of the mirror and rubbing the $300 half ounce jar of goo into her face and affirming that she was still young and beautiful. She placed so much value into her beauty that, as she aged, she felt like she was bankrupt. Beauty, lavish lifestyles and high positions are only what people see when they look at us from the outside. It isn’t truly us and it can’t be where we get our value from. You cannot use these things to determine human value, especially your own.

In addition to low self esteem, pride can be responsible for division. If there are two people involved in doing anything in the world together as a team, they must both be humble. If pride rises up inside just one of them there is a potential for a fight. “Only by pride cometh contention..”

Another byproduct of pride or arrogance is a lack of promotion! Most people understand that praising people on the job encourages good results, but what happens if the employee praises them self? If you already assume that the job you are doing is above average, why would you try to improve? Why not assume that the promotion is deserved already? Pride may cause someone to ask for a promotion before they are ready, which might lead to embarrassment, resentment and anger when they are told ‘No!’ by the boss.

All relationships are affected by pride, not just professional ones. Haughty attitudes can leave other people feeling drained, worthless, confused, and put off by their attitude. It causes a desire to push that person away. It leads to loneliness for the person plagued with it, because over and over again they are discarded and pushed away by those they get attached to. I once met a woman in her late twenties who is absolutely the most arrogant person I’ve ever experienced right down to the way she held her head and moved her hands. She never had anything good to say about anyone or anything. No moments of kindness. No softness or gentleness about her at all. She was incredibly jealous of every other woman around her, often talking bad about them when they weren’t in the room, trying to keep them from becoming more accepted or popular than her. Her own self centered insecurity showed through in that way. She recruited others to join her and plotted against people who dared to speak up to her. Accusing people of stealing, lying, cheating. Holding on to the dirty bits of gossip she acquired and waiting until the perfect time to tell everyone. She severely bullied her younger siblings and other family members who couldn’t escape, (in the name of love of course! They needed it to help them toughen up!) She had become so hardhearted by her arrogant ways over the years that it was painfully obvious she had no one. No one was sincerely her friend, no one liked her because deep down they must have known that if they ever dared to disagree with her, they would be next. All of this stemmed from her selfish pride.She believed she should have a voice in who they dated, who they worked for, and where they lived. I believe this was her own fear of being abandoned due to her bad behavior, manifesting itself. If she ever gave up her position as the center of everything in her life she would be tolerable to be around, but because she lifted herself up in her own mind she is dooming herself to a sad lonely life. Even though she could justify everything she did, she still knew she was wrong.

Pride turns people into monsters. It causes people, little by little, to be able to justify one wicked deed after the next, while their heart slowly grows harder and harder as the days go by. I pity people when they get like that. It’s hard to get them to admit that they are actually miserable on the inside, and you can’t imagine they’re satisfied with themselves.

History is full of people who let pride overtake them. Empires ruined, wars waged, and battles lost. Celebrities fall to pride often. Adolf Hitler’s pride in his own race (which he did nothing to accomplish) caused him to believe in eugenics, and his stupid beliefs made the whole world suffer. It’s a misconstrued concept these days, but your thoughts really can change the way your life is. If people would set aside the “What about me?” attitude and focus on caring about other more than they care about themselves the entire world would be a better place.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 Holy Bible, King James Version

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