I have the opportunity to meet with lots of people in the course of my work and often ask what God has been teaching them. I am a firm believer in being a “Life-Long Learner”--a person who is growing, learning and changing (until Jesus calls me home). This is inherent in the root meaning of “disciple.”
Here are four things the Lord has recently been teaching me. The person who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks has never met a hungry dog. I am still hungry and eager to learn from the Lord and others. When I stop learning, I stop growing and when I stop growing, I stop leading.
1. TRUSTING HIS SOVEREIGNTY
Two passages speak to me of God’s sovereignty. Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” and I Timothy 6:15 (Phillips), “…God, who is the blessed controller of all things...” I am so wired up that I want to know the “why” of things and I want to know it NOW! Over and over again through the years, He has brought me back to “Trusting 101.” I want, by His grace, to get to the place where I sweat neither the big stuff nor the small stuff (I can be such a worry wart). As the hymn puts it, “Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more.” If God is sovereign (which He is) and doesn’t sleep or slumber (which He doesn’t ) and has all the details of my past, present and future under His “blessed” control (which He does), then it makes no sense for both of us to stay up all night! He is sovereign over my health, my family, my work, my finances--the whole kit and caboodle.
2. WATCHING HIM WORK
I love the thought from Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” Bible study that God is at work all around me. It is a constant prayer (after having worked though the material) that I would have spiritual eyes--eyes of faith and eyes of vision--to see where He is at work and to discern where He wants me to join Him (or not join Him). I struggle with taking adequate time to carefully observe, think and pray before going into action. I’m learning how to listen, watch and pay better attention (in conversations, meetings, et al) to ascertain where He is working and where He wants me to join Him (or not!)
By His grace, I am trying to move away from doing (and then asking Him to bless what I intend to do) to watching for where He is already blessing and joining Him. Proverbs 24:32(NIV) comes to my rescue here, “I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.” This verse motivates me to watch, listen and learn.
3. WAITING FOR HIS TIMING
A while back, I wrote a piece for this website titled, “He hates to wait.” I spoke of my impatience and rushing ahead, sometimes taking matters into my own hands as Saul did when he was told to wait seven days for Samuel to show up (I Samuel 13:7-15). I am proactive by nature and tend to practice “fire, ready, aim.” Someone observed that when you walk with God He seems to walk “awful slow.” I am so desirous of seeing thing happen that I can quickly get ahead of God’s time-table. James 5:7,8 (Msg.) “Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.” The context for the passage is the second coming of Jesus Christ. I apply it with the thought in mind of “God showing up” in someone’s life, or in a situation “…the Master’s arrival.” The Master could arrive at any time. This passage, more than any other in recent memory, has encouraged me and helped me wait for God’s timing and not rush ahead.
4. EXPECTING HIS MIRACLES
I can’t speak for you, but I am tired of “business as usual.” I don’t like to think thoughts like: Well, that’s about what we expected. This is what the board projected for this year. This is the norm for our area.
I believe in a God who can do the unexpected, the unusual, the totally radical off-the-chart kinds of things. I am learning to pray and expect the “…great and unsearchable things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah. 33:3 (NIV)
Psalm 42:11 (The Living Bible) “But O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do. He is my help! He is my God!” When I meet with someone I am coaching, teach a seminar, speak at a conference, or chair a planning meeting, I truly, genuinely expect God to act, to do His thing, to invade the time with His power, presence and wisdom.
These are four things God has been teaching me lately. What has He been teaching you?