Dear Church Family,

It’s the last day of August and we will finish the month by thinking about what makes for a good student. So what is it? Is it being smart? Having the right parents? Living in the right economic bracket? Getting the right amount of sleep? Sitting under the best teachers?

We could go on with these suggestions, but overall, I think we all would agree that every one of these things plays a role in the success of a student. However, we would also have to agree that none of these things ultimately determines whether or not someone will be a good student. Too often we try to make excuses for ourselves or others by way of pointing at one or more of these factors as the reason why we aren’t (or weren’t) good students.

For instance, we may take the line from Chariots of Fire by Sam Mussabini speaking about athletics as justification for poor performance when he says, “You can’t put in what God’s left out.” Well in one sense that is certainly true, however that doesn’t warrant our bowing out. What makes for a good student is a teachable spirit and a disciplined resolve to learn. Now I know there are a thousand other important things and maybe even necessary, but let’s narrow our focus to these two.

The good student is committed to learning by being taught. It is my contention we can tick all of the other boxes, but if we aren’t able to tick these, we will not be good students. It is also my contention if we only tick these two boxes and the others are unchecked, we can still be good students.

As Christians we are called to be lifelong learners. This is true of all Christians without distinction and without exception. How can that be? God has given all of His children His Holy Spirit who enables and produces this in us. Why has He done that? In order that it might be plain He is the One who is at work within us. Does that mean all Christians will be cookie-cutter learners? No, He gives varying grace according to His plan for each one. Why does He do that? In order that we might band together in the church, celebrating the diversity of His will for us together.

God is the great Teacher. He trains, corrects, encourages, and admonishes us by His Word. We must always, by the power of His Spirit, approach and receive His Word with a teachable spirit. We must resolve to discipline ourselves to always be applying what we learn in our lives. We must always sit under His Word—and never over It. Thank God He has committed to teach us and has enabled each of us to learn. This is truly a great blessing.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Ephesians 4:7; James 1:5