As I read through this portion of Scripture, the Spirit really shined his light on my heart and asked me this probing question: “Do I have a teachable spirit?” There are times when I fear I do not. I find myself really reading a lot of books about the Bible rather than spending the majority of my time in God’s Word.
Many Christians, I fear, believe that there will come or has come a day when they have learned all they need to know about God. Sadly, many so-called Christians feel that as long as they know enough to be saved, there is no sense in learning any more sense they are already going to heaven.
Others believe that they simply do not have the mind to really dig down deep and explore the great truths that God has given to us! In the first portion of Psalm 86:11, David prays, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.” In order to say, “Teach me your way, O Lord,” we in essence are saying, “Lord, I cannot know your way unless you show me.” David is not only humbled by at God’s greatness, humbled at his majesty, humbled that he can create and sustain such a vast universe on the grandest and the smallest scales imaginable. This produces not just an awe of God, but also an awe of our sinfulness and finiteness before God. In other words, in order for us to have a teachable spirit, we have to be bruised and crushed in our sin, which then produces a desire in David to grow closer and learn more about his glorious God.
John Calvin in his commentaries says, “He tacitly contrasts the ways of God with all the counsels which he could derive from carnal reason. In submitting himself to God, and in imploring him to be his guide, he confesses that the only possible way by which we can be enabled to live a holy and upright life is when God goes before us while we follow after him.”
How can we tell if we have a teachable spirit? Three questions!
First, do you make every effort possible to make it to worship services and Bible studies where the Scripture is taught?
Secondly, do you make efforts to read books and watch shows that deal with the Scriptures or biblical themes? There is no shortage of books and channels in the world (just go to any bookstore) dealing with every topic under the sun. Of the books and magazines you read, the websites you frequent, and the TV shows you watch, how many of those shows honor God’s Word in their content?
Thirdly, do you read the Scriptures to simply lean or do you read to know God and his will? Notice verse 11a again: “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth.” This is what the Scriptures are about, to echo Howard Hendricks in “Living By the Book” — the Scriptures are about life-change. The Scriptures transform (Isaiah 55:11-12) through the moving of the Spirit who inspires the Scriptures.
Do you have a teachable spirit?