Our choice of whether to take the position of either a learner or a teacher affects our ability to hear what God is saying to us. When we hold our own opinions above God’s truth, we fail to walk in humility as a son embracing His perspective as better than our own. We are often blinded by the sound of the loudest voices around us and these can lead us away from the truth. In deciding what voices we should listen to we need to pay close attention to those who, through humble listening to God, have learned and are living the truth that has caused them to become mothers and fathers in the faith.
In 1 Corinthians 4, Jesus states that there are many teachers but few fathers, meaning those who:
* Truly care and have affection for us
* Maintain the attitude of a humble learner
* Invest their time in thought, prayer, and action on our behalf
* Embrace the cost of being a Father as they work with God to learn His ways
* Walk with us through life’s difficulties
* Impact our lives by giving their lives
We must look closely at our hearts to discern if we have the attitude of a learner or a teacher, learners are:
* Committed to building long-term kingdom relationships which are built on traits such as: faithfulness, commitment, honor, deep affection, accountability, and vulnerability
* Become fathers by embracing the humble attitude of a learner
* Perceive their own faults and frailties and so have grace for those of others
* Impart by giving who they are not just lessons and opinions
* Do not seek position of power or influence, but accept it when it is given to them (see Luke 14)
* Are other focused and willing to pay the cost of truly caring for people
* Are trustworthy, generous, kind, and giving
In contrast the teacher’s perspective is:
* Eager to instruct and tell others what to do
* To jockey for position of importance or power in order to feel secure and find peace, (things which are meant to be found in kingdom relationships)
* To instruct many and father no one
* Easily offended
As we choose to take the position of a son and learn from those who have lived with the attitude of a learner and grown to be fathers/mothers themselves, we too are on the way to becoming parents in God’s Kingdom. Jesus was a learner. Although He was capable of teaching the elders in the synagogue at the age of 12, He chose to go home and submit to His earthly parents for 18 more years until God gave Him the place of a Father, laying down His life for others at the cross. His humility transformed the world. Our choice to walk in humility can transform our lives. Are you listening for the voice of fathers and mothers that God has placed in your life, people who are building people and bearing good fruit? Can you identify these humble learners in your life? Are you able to see and address areas where you have the attitude of a learner, and those where you have the attitude of a teacher? In what areas are you covering up a need for change in order to guard your own opinion or hang on to a false sense of security or importance? Ask someone who loves you and can be trusted to help discern these things in your life so that you can embrace the truth that will set you free and move you toward becoming a father/mother in God’s Kingdom.
NOTE: This is not to say there is no place for teachers in the body of Christ; we know that this is a gift from God. We are addressing here the attitude of our individual hearts.