Life Long Learning
By Wendell Cantrell
Many of us are in professions where continuing education is mandated by law and essential for keeping up with the latest trends and techniques that we need to stay current with our work skills. The very idea of closing the books, avoiding educational websites, and skipping training meetings is a recipe for disaster. What I want us to look at in this issue of Culture Watch is the need for continuing education in our spiritual life.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’ve reached an acceptable level of biblical knowledge, though we’ll readily admit that our personal pursuit of holiness is a life-long event. We tend to think that we’ve learned what we need to learn and now know what we need to know. In our Bible reading, we’ll do a chapter a day to keep the devil away (good luck with that). Here is the question we should be asking ourselves regularly, “Shouldn’t I still have a humble, teachable spirit wanting to know the way of my Master more deeply and fully?”
Do you remember how earlier in your walk with the Lord, you just couldn’t get enough? You had that voracious hunger for His truth. You loved to study the Word of God and loved listening to peers and mentors who were a bit further along in their walk. You were a student in every sense. But something happened along the way. For some of us, it was distraction as we let the world squeeze us into its mold. For others, we got discouraged after a while and felt that our study just wasn’t helping. For a few of us, maybe we felt that we had arrived, and that negated any hunger pangs. Our basic premise for this article: You never arrive!
Whatever your story, my challenge is this: Dedicate yourself to be a lifelong learner of biblical wisdom. Let’s consider two reasons to make that commitment. First, have you considered the depth of God’s wisdom? I think you would agree with me that it is boundless. Pastor Paul Tripp says the following, “If for ten million years you sat for 24 hours a day at His feet to listen, you would scratch only the surface of His wisdom.” If God so decided to write down every font of wisdom at His disposal, this world could not begin to contain such a weight. Paul tells us in Romans 11:33-34, “Oh, the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and unfathomable His ways! Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?”
Let’s look at a second reason, the danger of the world. Today, the sounds of cultural falsehood echo more loudly and repeatedly than the sounds of true wisdom. This is the very reason that you hear from Culture Watch monthly. One of the events that helps me assess cultural trends each year is the Super Bowl. Companies pay four million dollars for a 30 second advertisement. A mentor told me several years ago, “those commercials show us where our country is headed.” If we are out and about, we are daily having dozens of voices speaking into our lives. The majority of influences we are hearing, like the commercials, didn’t get their insight from the wisdom of the Lord. In case you didn’t notice, we are living in the midst of a raging wisdom war. Our adversary is looking for prisoners and it is easy to be taken captive. Every day we will struggle with breathing in the polluted air of a culture that no longer actually thinks that God is, much less that He is wise. Even the wisest among us are fools when it comes to knowing God and living for His Will. So why is it that the wisdom of this world still appears to grab and sometimes hold the attention of so many of us? As we are trying to balance the world’s wisdom with His wisdom, we need to ask ourselves the following question, “What other book in the world can provide comfort to those that are hurting, direction for those who are lost, power for those who are weak, and healing for those burdened by the weight of this world?” The Apostle Paul again tells us, this time in 1 Cor. 1:20-21, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
So what is your wisdom growth plan? Our pastor recently encouraged us to be reading more (in addition to the Bible), as did Culture Watch in an article last year.1 Are there resources at Denton Bible that you should be accessing for your spiritual continuing education, besides essential weekly worship? This is certainly something to be thinking about as 2015 gears up. Have you thought of an Adult Bible Fellowship class before or after worship? Are you in a small group?
I will briefly share three growth opportunities the Lord has placed in my path the past few years. First, he opened the door for me to take the Centurion program sponsored by Colson Center. This is an intense biblical worldview curriculum that certainly changed my life and my reading habits. Next, I attended a mid-week biblical counseling course offered by a counselor at our church. Then there was the two-year (BTCP2) course (BTCL3 for the ladies). I am not sure what will come next, but I am certainly open to learning more. I have been particularly challenged this year by being in a Tuesday men’s Bible study with two fellows in their 90s. Their zeal to be growing in the Lord truly amazes me.
So, here is the challenge: never stop being a student. Morning after morning, we need to bow our head and humbly pray, “Lord, please teach me your way. Wherever and whenever, I am ready to obey!”
Questions or comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bye Bye Books, Culture Watch July 2014
- BTCP: Bible Training Center for Pastors
- BTCP: Bible Training for Church Leaders