The past few weeks at VI, we have talked about our “Identities” as followers of Christ. We have discussed how we are called to be a family, doing life with one another and lovingly caring for each other’s needs. We also talked about how we are all called to be missionaries, this does not mean we should sell our belongings and move to Africa but we are all called to seek ways to understand the culture in which God has placed us and how to best bring the gospel to those in that culture.
Continuing our Identities series, this week we will look into our third identity….. we are called to be “Learners”
Ephesians 4:11-16 (bolding mine)
11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
As was the case with our family and missionary identities, God calls us to be learners for our own good. He is not content with us having a basic, elementary knowledge of who He is and what He has done for us. He wants us to know him deeply, intimately, and completely. Why? For our own protection!! So that we are not “tossed to and fro by the waves”, so that we are not easily tricked by humans who are “crafty” and “cunning” with their “decietful schemes”.
That clip raises some interesting questions. We have all probably thought about some of those questions before and we each probably have questions of our own……
Why does God allow suffering? How do I know God is real? Is there only one way to heaven? If I am a Christian, why do I still struggle with sin?
These are all great questions! These are all really challenging questions!! But if we do not have a proper understanding of who God is and what His Word says, then these questions can be more then just challenging, they can begin to harm us. They can begin to toss us to and fro.
Still, being a learner is more then just finding answers to hard questions or being skilled in apologetics. As part of the grace God bestowed on us when we became Christians, he gave us all spiritual gifts. Repeat, we ALL have spiritual gifts. However, we as individuals do not have all of the spiritual gifts. This does not excuse us from trying to grow in areas that we are not naturally gifted. For instance, God may have given one person the gift of hospitality and another the gift of teaching. Does not mean that the person with hospitality should never teach another person about the gospel? Of course not. Likewise, the person with teaching is not allowed to be inhospitable simply because that is not their gift. As part of our identity as Learners, we are to learn how to mature in our faith until we reach the stature of the fullness of Christ! (hint: which won’t happen until he returns) This means we are to humbly learn from others who possess gifts which our not our own.
So, as Learners, we are to continue seeking to know God and his plan for us more deeply and to learn from one another how to mature into the fullness of Christlikeness.
What prevents you from learning?
In what areas do you need to “learn” the most?
What steps can you take to being a life long journey of learning?