November 5, 2003
Encouragement for Today
Learning How to Learn
So do not be foolish with your lives. But learn what the Lord wants you to do. (ICB)
There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience - and that is not learning from experience. Life is a journey, not a destination. It is through that journey that we are born, broken, changed and shaped. God is big on learning the lessons of life because life is His chosen classroom through which He teaches His children His truth. One of the first and most vital truths we need to learn in our walk with God is obedience.
Truth does not change! We must change in response to the truth! A learned truth is an applied truth. When we apply truth we are practicing obedience. When we don’t learn from our missteps we are doomed to make the same mistakes again, falling back into disobedience. It is like climbing the same old mountain over and over again!
Dan served as Youth Pastor for many years in South Florida. Each summer, we took the youth on a mission trip to the mountains of North Carolina where they conducted youth rallies in parks, taught back yard Bible Clubs and held worship services in local churches. Everyone worked hard. But each afternoon was free time. We all piled into a rickety old school bus and headed for the mountains to play. Our favorite mountain activity was tubing. One year a pastor told us about a tubing company tucked up in the mountains on Lake Lure, assuring us that the crowds were small, the price was right and the ride was incredible. Off we went!
We soon discovered why it was such a great deal. You couldn’t find the place. We got so completely lost – several times. After two hours of searching we finally found the tubing company and had a great, but short ride. As we headed back to our hotel, one of the counselors wisely suggested that we write down the directions so that we would have them each year. Great idea!
The next summer, everyone was excited about tubing at our new spot – until we discovered that no one had actually written down the directions – and once again we got lost, wasting an hour of valuable tubing time. I took matters in hand, grabbed a piece of paper and wrote the directions down in great detail.
The following summer, we were half way to Lake Lure and the mapped out tubing spot when we discovered that we had indeed documented the directions but left them at the hotel. Once again, we went around that same old mountain, wasting time and energy until we found the tubing place. I looked at Dan and said, “We must be slow learners!”
I am afraid that our Father looks at us many times and with a broken heart wonders, “Why are they so slow to learn and practice my Truth?” In order to learn the ways of God we have to know the Truth of God. Saturating our lives with Scripture is absolutely essential to finding and doing the will of God. The Bible is the road map, the blue print and the ultimate plan for our journey.
As we begin to walk in the right direction we must not only have the right directions for today, we must go back and destroy those paths of yesterday that once led us in the wrong direction. Eliminating wrong choices makes the right choices much easier to make. Some of those old paths are familiar and may be hard to uproot. A friendship may have to be ended. A behavior pattern may have to be changed. A habit may have to be eliminated. But if it leads to sin, if it makes it easier to sin, if it entices or tempts you to sin, run from it now! Don’t go around that same old mountain of wrong choices again. Learn the lesson and choose obedience.
My Prayer for Today:
Father, I am so tired of going around the same old mountains of defeat and failure in my life. I am afraid of being lost and without direction. Right now, I choose your ways. Please lead me in them. Help me to see and turn from anyone or anything that would keep me from learning and then obeying your truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Make a commitment to learn whatever lessons God has for you today. Right now, choose obedience and ask the Holy Spirit to give discernment and power to make the right choices.
Ask God for the strength to turn from old ways that make it easy to disobey the new ways.
Begin to identify the destructive paths in your life that would hinder your obedience to Him.
What “old” ways do you need to abandon?
What “new” ways do you need to put in the place of the old ways?
What part does the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in our ability to be obedient?
Psalm 119:73 You made me and formed me with your hands. Give me understanding so I can learn your commands. (ICB)
Psalm 119:130 Learning your words gives wisdom and understanding for the foolish. (NCV)
Proverbs 23:23 Learn the truth and never reject it. Get wisdom, self-control, and understanding. (NCV)
Ehesians 5:10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. (ICB)
1 John 2:4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (NIV)
Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland
Originally published Monday, 10 November 2003.