Becoming a Continual Learner

Pastor C.A. Cranfill   -  

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to become a lifelong learner. Jesus said “Follow Me.” He did not say, “Follow Me until…” (You fill in the blank with whatever your particular idea of a disciple might be.) To be a disciple of Jesus, is to acknowledge that you are perpetually a student in the school of Christ. As humans, we typically like closure or completion. We like to say that we have finished something. That we graduated from school or college. That we rebuilt that old 69′ Mustang. That we won the state championship. That we went the distance with Apollo Creed. That we were picked as Prom Queen. That we made the Dean’s List. Something. Anything. As long as it is complete. We find our value or worth in the completion and frown on the incomplete. So, to say that a disciple is a lifelong learner and that their curriculum is never concluded may not sound appealing to some. It may even sound intimidating or exhausting.

However, there is good news. Jesus promises that we will never be left to do it alone. He promises that He will be with us in the learning as our continual Teacher. You may ask, “What difference does that make?” It makes all the difference in the world! Have you tried learning without a teacher, without instructions, videos, or books? Have you tried learning entirely from your personal experience? It is almost always a disaster. As C.S. Lewis would say, “Experience is the most brutal of teachers but you learn, my God, do you learn!” So, take heart! To be a lifelong student means that you are a lifelong recipient of the Greatest of all teachers. The One that stands and says “My yoke is easy and My burden is light..” 

You may ask, “How do I become a Continual Learner?” The answer again is simple: commit yourself to the Master. If you are perpetually surrendering yourself to be changed by Jesus then you will learn from Him. If you are committed to always being in His Presence, always seeking to be with Jesus, then you will learn from Him. If you are consistently and intentionally finding ways to be on Mission with Jesus, then you will learn from Him. You cannot be changed by Jesus and not learn from the transformation. You cannot be with Jesus and not learn from the communion. You cannot be on Mission with Jesus and not learn from the engagement. Therefore, to be a disciple is to be a lifelong learner.

God, in His incredible grace, has given us many tools to learn with. First, He has sent His indwelling Spirit to fill every born again believer and thereby revealing the truth of the Scriptures to them. Second, He has given us the divinely inspired Word of God so that we can learn everything that pertains to life and godliness. Third, He has blessed us with a community of believers that we can connect with and as iron sharpens iron, so we can sharpen one another. Fourth, He has given us the church offices (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher) so that we have spiritually gifted individuals to edify us in our discipleship journey. Fifth, He has given us natural examples to reveal His glory to our hearts and minds. Finally, God uses our circumstances (especially trials) to teach us things relating to ourselves, Himself, and His glorious Gospel.