Being a Child of God: Always Learning
From taking our first steps, to sharing our toys with others, to balancing our checkbook, parents are our first teachers. As we age, we typically encounter new teachers, formal or otherwise, and we begin to rely on our parents' instruction less. However, they lay the bedrock of fundamental knowledge and awareness that our entire understanding of the world around us--and the spirit inside us--is built upon. They give us a starting point. And yes, even when a child has a family of her or his own, they will occasionally benefit from asking advice or insight from the ones who raised them.
After all, our parents want to see us succeed throughout our entire life. They want us to thrive, to learn from their mistakes. They want to impart their wisdom and experiences so that we can better handle life's challenges and milestones with grace and confidence.
This is even more true as spiritual children of the One who made us. Our Heavenly Father is our teacher, and His desire is to guide us into the best life possible: a reflection of His holiness (Luke 6:40; Hebrews 12:9-10). Read Psalm 119 or any of Solomon's Proverbs, and you'll discover that God's instruction and guidance is meant to lead us out of our sinful self-will and into abundant life devoted to Him (John 10:10). God gives us His words so that we may live by them--truly live! And while we may not receive every answer we pursue in this life, the child of God has peace (and that grace and confidence to tackle life) with the knowledge He has revealed to us (Deuteronomy 29:29; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
This is why being a Christian means being a student: we are always learning something new about our Father, His plan for us, the world around us, and the people we meet. Our role as students of the Master Teacher requires us to always be seeking out greater understanding, greater awareness, and greater wisdom in applying the knowledge of truth (Ephesians 3:19; 2 Peter 1:5, 10; 3:18). And in the true fashion of childhood, the joy of learning is best expressed by coming full circle and teaching to others, which is God's desire as well (Hebrews 6:12-14). In this process, we also become aware of lies and false teachings that we must learn to identify and regard as such (1 John 4:1).
While growing in knowledge of Truth is a good thing, we must exercise caution not to fall prey to the temptation of prideful intellect that cherishes factual understanding of the word to the relationship it reveals. Indeed, a true child of God doesn't just take in the information for its own sake, but will apply it and seek to live by it in order to magnify and please the Father. God's children must always keep an open, sharp mind that is first and foremost humble before its Creator. In this way we ought to mimic Job, who came to learn that desiring to know the "hows" and "whys" of God are secondary to knowing the "who" of God (Job 42:1-6). Students are never done learning, and learning requires realizing where we are in the wrong and changing our outlook moving forward.
So, fellow students: what have you been doing to grow in the knowledge of God? What have you been learning recently? How are you applying it to your life? My prayer is for us to fall more in love with our Father as He continues to teach us and mold us into children that look like His Son.