Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ involves learning a whole new set of values. King Solomon instructed; “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…” (Proverbs 1:5). From the moment you turned to Christ as Lord, He began your new life of training in Christ-centred values, beliefs, behaviours and responses. This is the path of sanctification, leading to wisdom and Christ-like glory (2Co 3:18).
About 605 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar besieged, then concurred Jerusalem. Amongst other things, Nebuchadnezzar searched within the royal family of Israel for “youths …skilful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning…” (Daniel 1:4). Under God’s sovereign hand, Nebuchadnezzar recognised the value of having people who were interested in learning. These youths needed to understand the learning process, while placing a high value on wisdom attained from their knowledge.
Obviously, Jesus Christ is our supreme example in all things. Being God’s “son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). In His humanity, Jesus grew and learned obedience to fulfil all righteousness (Mat 3:15), proving Himself to be the perfect sacrifice, “that he might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18).
Application is personal
For you and I, the point of learning is to put the lessons into practice, just as Paul instructed the Philippian believers. “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). The blessing that accompanies biblical learning with obedience is God’s peace. That rich inner affirmation that God is at rest with you is one of the ways the Holy Spirit rewards obedience.
Spiritual learning has little to do with theory only; rather, it’s practical and visible for all to see as your development touches other’s lives. This is why Paul instructed Titus to “let people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). As your biblical knowledge increases, the Holy Spirit matures you to “be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). What a sobering thought. However, this kind of self-deception which fails to transition biblical knowledge to behaviour is identifiable, and can be remedied.
The challenge for all of us is to examine ourselves, testing if we are those who are “always learning (yet) never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Sadly; our hearts can deceive us into becoming comfortable with biblical naivety and spiritual immaturity which fails to fulfil God’s design just as it fails to impact others for Christ.
God’s way is different
As a believer in Christ; to learn is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18). This is the path for glorifying Christ in your daily living, and for eternity to come.
Change in rarely easy or comfortable, and even though you may see the benefits of it, the flesh often resists without understanding why it resists. Great humility is always needed as we grow in the Lord. Therefore, I want to encourage you to continue changing for Jesus Christ which is a high calling from the Lord. God wishes to continue engaging your life in intimate ways which fulfil His purposes and bring Him glorifying pleasure. He strongly desires to synchronise His character with yours, to increasingly produce Christ-likeness.
I encourage you to have a faith that increasingly learns to be a learner for Christ.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.baybiblefellowship.co.nz