The Art of Lifelong Learning
By Whitney Hopler
“Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper.” – Proverbs 19:8 GNT
I graduated from college years ago. However, I still feel the excitement of being immersed in a place of learning, since I work for a university. Our university has all employees take an assessment that reveals their personal strengths, and one of mine is “learner”. I love to learn! Every day, I try my best to take advantage of opportunities God brings me to learn something new. Those opportunities take many forms: reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, asking people questions, going to events, traveling, and even praying about the meaning of my dreams. It’s exciting to discover more about all sorts of topics that interest me. In the process, God gives me glimpses of his work in the world, so I discover God’s wonder through lifelong learning.
Proverbs 19:8 GNT urges us all to learn all we can and remember what we learn so we can prosper. We should embrace the pursuit of wisdom, since it not only enhances our spiritual growth but also equips us to navigate life’s challenges well. Education – in all its forms – empowers us with the tools to make informed decisions, understand the world around us, and deepen our relationship with God. God calls us to be lifelong learners, continuously seeking to grow in wisdom. Proverbs 18:15 NIV advises: “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” Our ultimate teacher is the one who knows everything, as well as the source of everything there is to learn about: God himself. In Proverbs 1:7, we read that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The Bible tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” in both Proverbs 9:10 NIV and Psalm 111:10 NIV. In Matthew 11:28-30 NIV, Jesus urges us to learn from him and promises that the process of learning as we enjoy relationships with him will be easy and refreshing: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God wants us to cultivate a hunger for learning. We can do so by taking advantage of the many opportunities God gives us to acquire more knowledge and wisdom. Here are some ways to do so:
-Engage in regular Bible study to gain spiritual insights.
-Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind.
-Read books and articles on topics that interest you.
-Listen to podcasts and audiobooks while you’re driving or doing household chores.
-Watch educational videos, such as documentaries.
-Attend conferences and workshops to learn from experts and network with other learners.
-Discuss the news and other topics with people you know, asking them what they think and learning from their perspectives.
-Travel to experience new cultures and ways of life.
-Reflect on your dreams and ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn from them.
The keys to lifelong learning are to be open to new experiences and willing to put in the effort to learn and apply what we learn to our lives with holy discernment and wisdom. Our pursuit of knowledge should align with biblical principles and contribute positively to our spiritual growth. Through lifelong learning, we open ourselves to the thriving lives God intends us to live. So, let’s get excited about learning more every day God gives us to live!
Dear God, we acknowledge that you are the source of all wisdom, and we humbly seek your guidance as we commit ourselves to lifelong learning. Please give us a hunger for your Word so we can diligently study and meditate on your teachings in the Bible. Help us to immerse ourselves in the Bible and find treasures of wisdom that will transform our minds and hearts. May Your Holy Spirit constantly be our teacher, leading us into all truth and revealing the mysteries of your kingdom. Grant us the discernment to distinguish between knowledge that aligns with your will and that which leads astray. Father, we ask for a humble and teachable spirit, recognizing that there is always more to learn and ways to grow. Open our minds to new perspectives, experiences, and knowledge from various sources, while always keeping your truth as our foundation. Help us to apply the knowledge we gain in practical ways, living out your principles in our daily lives and interactions with others. Enable us to be a blessing to those around us, using our knowledge for your good purposes. Thank you for the gift of learning and the opportunity to grow wiser throughout our lives. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Teacher. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Prateek Katyal/Unsplash
Whitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.
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Originally published Friday, 18 August 2023.