My Journey to Maturity

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Resolve to Be a Lifelong Learner

Wisdom does not come automatically with age (Job 32:8–9). For many aged saints, gray hair and a good head go hand in hand. But for others, far too many others, length of life only entrenches stubbornness, irritability, and careless ways of thinking and living. Life experiences may increase inevitably with age, but without some long-term pattern of receptivity and intentionality, multiplied experiences will only create more confusion than clarity.

For Christians in particular, the stakes are even higher for cultivating holy curiosity and the mindset of a lifelong learner. Teaching and learning are at the very heart of our faith. To be a “disciple” means to be a “learner.” Our Master is the consummate teacher, and the central task of his church is teaching (Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Hebrews 13:7; Matthew 28:20). God designed the church to be a community of lifelong learners under the earthly guidance of leaders who are teachers at heart.

Continuous health in the Christian life is inextricably linked to continuous learning. When we say “learners,” we don’t mean of mere facts, information, and head knowledge. We mean all that and more. We don’t just learn facts, but we learn a Face. We’re not just learners of principles, but of a Person. We are lifelong learners in a relationship with Jesus as we hear His voice in His word and have His ear in prayer, and share in community with His body, all through the power of his Spirit.

Diversify your sources, settings and seasons of teaching.

  • LEARN  from personal conversations. Personal conversations with experienced, knowledgeable and trustworthy people are tops on the list. You can dialogue and ask questions and hear words tailored just for you, as they become aware of your situation and needs.
  • LEARN from reading books. Books have the amazing value of being accessible anytime and anywhere; you can go at your speed, in your time and place, and re-read as needed.
  • LEARN from taking classes. Classes provide the advantage of learning in context with others, benefiting from their questions, and being required to focus on the material at some set time for some particular season.
  • LEARN from educational videos. They provide the flexibility of watching at a time most convenient for you and are beneficial for visuals.
  • LEARN from listening to audio recordings. This is perhaps the most underrated way to learn while multitasking (exercising, cleaning, cooking, or eating) Listening to a recording engages the mind in ways different than video instruction by leaning on the imagination to picture the teacher and setting.

Embrace the Identity of a Lifelong Learner

Fight against the current that restricts learning as essential to childhood and adolescence but something unsuitable for adulthood. Resist the urge to waste spare time on mindless entertainment. Embrace your need for the glory of God, and brace yourself for nonstop learning, not as a burden, but a blessing of great joy. Own the truth that as Christians, we never “arrive,” but we are always arriving. Welcome to the journey!

Serving at the King’s pleasure,

Leslie B. James

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