Important aspect of spiritual growth:
Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, O Israel, the decrees and the laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. – Deuteronomy 5:1
The people had entered into a covenant with God, and Moses commanded them to hear, learn, and follow his statutes. Christians also have entered into a covenant with God (through Jesus Christ) and should be responsible to what God expects. Moses’ threefold command to the Israelites is excellent advice for all God’s followers. Hearing is absorbing and accepting information about God. Learning is understanding its meaning and implications. Following is putting into action all we have learned and understood. All three parts are essential to a growing relationship with God.
Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;
rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge. – Proverb 19:25
There is a great difference between the person who learns from criticism and the person who refuses to accept correction. How we respond to criticism determines whether or not we grow in wisdom. The next time someone criticises you, listen carefully to all that is said. You might learn something.
What true learning involves:
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust – there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
For men are not cast off
by the Lord for ever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men. – Lamentations 3:27-33
To “bear the yoke” means willingly to come under God’s discipline and learn what he wants to teach. This involves several important factors: (1) silent reflection on what God wants, (2) repentant humility, (3) self-control in the face of diversity, and (4) confident patience, depending on the divine Teacher to bring about loving lessons in our lives. God has several long-term and short-term lessons for you right now. Are you doing your homework.
©Dodgsons Sanctuary Church (Kingsway), St Barnabas Church, 1973.