December 8, 2010

To Live is Christ — learning to be teachable

One definition of insanity, or at least foolishness, is doing the same thing over and over, thinking it will work the next time. How sad when lessons are never learned.

As a teacher I am delighted with teachable people. My heart becomes heavy when someone thinks they know everything even though they struggle with life and will not listen to sound advice. I’m certain that God feels the same. He included this testimony in His Word. 

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:71–72)
No matter what life hands me or however God deals with me, He has graced me far better than I deserve. He oversees my life with love and for my good. My life verses have been these: 
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28–29)
His design is to restore me to the image of Jesus Christ, and He uses ALL things to do it, even affliction as the psalmist says and as repeated in Romans.

As I look back, I can see God’s hand in the afflictions. At the time, I didn’t think that I needed to be so treated, but He knew. Affliction has taught me that my knowledge needed to be tempered with judgment and patience. Trials teach me to persevere, to hold fast to God even when it seems He has loosed His hold on me. I’m still not rejoicing during trials, but am able to be thankful that God uses them for my good.

Oddly enough, the easier life is, the easier I stray from Him. Faith and obedience grow when I’m pushed by trouble. Ease fills me with the pleasures of this life. God knows that I could be drawn away by the world, its wealth, and the things money can buy, but affliction makes all of that senseless.

He teaches me that there is no security in money. It flies away, making and keeping no promises. With trials, I am focused. With leisure and the “good” life, I am lazy and careless.

Affliction also gives me a heart for others who struggle. However, the good times tend to fill me with disdain for those less fortunate. I easily forget that all comes from God and begin to think too highly of myself.

Affliction forces me to be teachable. God strikes the “know it all” in me. It dries up in struggles, particularly those that seem to have no explanation. By these I learn that the principles of God, though difficult and often a mystery, are important and profitable. God uses them to show me that His wisdom is a wonder. He also shows me that He will take me through even the most difficult trial without harm and instead bless me because of them.

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