“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)
According to Webster, the word learn means, “to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something.” At Red Hills, we want every aspect of that word to be a part of the culture. As individuals, we should develop a passion for knowing our Savior through personally studying His word, practicing His presence, receiving teaching from leadership and each other, and experiencing Jesus.
In today’s church culture, there is no shortage of opportunities to learn. From Sunday morning teachings and Bible studies to online commentaries and Christian-living books, the avenues for reading and learning about God seem endless. And we should learn about God. It is vital to our spirit to study the Word of God. Psalm 119 is an expression of King David’s longing for God’s word and law. He found delight in them (Psalm 119:16). Furthermore, he asks that God would teach him so that he could follow in His ways (psalm 119:33). We should read God’s word and ask Him to help us apply it to our everyday lives. We should memorize scripture so that we may readily recall His word and encourage ourselves and others. We should seek to understand the meaning of God’s words, His laws and precepts, and the context in which the word was written. Study involves a bit of sacrifice and a lot of digging, but the reward is staggering. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee” Psalm 119:11.
Ahh…practice. It is what separates the seekers and the non-seekers. It is one thing to want to be good at playing the piano or being a great athlete, but it is something entirely different to pursue these skills through persistent and dedicated practice. The same applies to learning; specifically, learning about God. Practice not only comes from desire; it also fuels desire. We should practice reading scripture until it permeates our soul. We should practice spending time with and talking to Him. We should practice seeking Him. It should be the craft and skill we seek to perfect in our personal lives, and the practice of a community of believers. In his book, Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence says this about practice:
“Do not be discouraged by the resistance you will encounter from your human nature; you must go against your human inclinations. Often, in the beginning, you will think that you are wasting time, but you must go on, be determined and persevere in it until death, despite all the difficulties.”
Not everyone loves to learn. In other words, not everyone loves to be taught. But, we are instructed “to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding” (Proverbs 1:2). In the four Gospels, we see Jesus teaching a lot. People simply did not know and needed to be taught so they could perceive and understand what was happening right in front of them. In the early church, we see the disciples teaching in the temple and in homes daily (Acts 5:42). Being taught, whether through words or demonstration, is often the precursor to other forms of learning. We should approach biblical teaching with a strong appetite, chew on and savor each word, and test it against the word of God. This is all a part of the learning process and should be encouraged in a community of believers.
Even with all of this study, practice, and teaching, it is still possible to become bored with God. It’s true. It has happened to me, and I suppose, to countless others. Yet, the thought of becoming bored with God seems impossible. However, one reason boredom sets in is because many times we seek knowledge about God rather than seek to personally know God. When we simply seek to learn facts, it’s easy to become bored, passionless, and even unthankful. Learning does involve acquiring knowledge (as stated above), but it also involves a passion for what we are learning. It may be interesting to learn facts about a person, but adding to this the intricacies of a person’s unique personality and what makes them who they are, is another depth of learning. Our study, practice and teaching should cultivate a deep craving to truly know the God we call Father.
The desire to learn is something that we should cultivate and value in our personal walk with Christ. Just as a husband and wife continually learn more about each other, we should continually grow and learn more about who Jesus is. Every time I read scripture (even the same scripture I have read a thousand times), I learn something new. It is a living word! This should be something we as believers get excited about; to learn more about who God is and what He has done. “We must know before we can love” (Practicing the Presence of God). And when we truly know God, it is impossible not to love Him.
- Kelsey Kirk and Christie Wilson