What is a teachable spirit?
To understand what it means to have a ‘Teachable Spirit’, we need first to explore what an ‘Unteachable Spirit’ means. An unteachable spirit means that someone has a certain attitude, disposition and character that resists Biblical Truths, insights, and new information.
When people have an unteachable spirit, they are in reality stating by means of their behavior, that they do not respect the authority, level of knowledge or competence of the instructor or source material. This is where “the rubber meets the road” when it comes to the things of Bible. Those with an unteachable spirit appear to have a difficult time accepting the authority, level of knowledge or competence of the Bible teacher. But as we explore that thought further, we discover that the truth of the matter is that, if the Bible teacher is teaching from the Bible, then it is not a question of the instructor, but rather it is the rejection of the Word of God. As people hear the Word of God, they will inevitably have one of three possible responses.
- They Accept It Whole Heartedly. If they don’t understand it all initially, they accept it by faith. As they accept it, they come into agreement with it.
- They Are Indecisive. They are not quite ready to accept it, and there is room for continued discussion concerning it. During this time indecisiveness, God, the Father is drawing them closer to Him. He is inviting them to come closer. While in ‘The Valley of Decision,’ they invariably sense the leading God to come closer. Either they will decide to accept the invitation or reject it entirely.
- They Reject The Word Of God. – Those that reject The Word of God are empowered in their negative and carnal responses by the demonic spirits of Pride and Rebellion.
The things above happen instantaneously each time people hear the Word of God. No matter what scripture is shared, their responses fall into the same three categories. Jesus tells the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-9 describing what happens when the Word of God is sown into people’s lives.
Not all that attend church accept the Word of God wholeheartedly and come out of a pure heart. Some come to be entertained. Some come for social interaction. Some come for healing and deliverance and so forth. Some come because they want to learn more but are hindered by their mindsets, traditions and religious baggage. Out of the multitude of reasons, there are those who respond to the Word taught with the ‘religious’ or surface only responses. These are people that do religious things and religious ‘works’ but are not sincere. Or, if they are sincere, do not have a relationship with the True and Living God. They put on a religious facade without any of the understanding or heartfelt conversions.
They often do what is minimally required to get by. In this category, we will find those that will listen ‘At’ the pastor as opposed to listening ‘To’ the pastor. They will give a perfunctory ear to what their pastor says but will not internalize or apply what they have been taught. Their response is often empowered by obligation rather than motivation.
Consider the similar traits and characteristics of the unteachable. They don’t read their Bible. They don’t take notes when the Pastor teaches. They do what is minimally required, if anything, to serve at their local church. They don’t accept responsibility for their actions. They avoid doing any activity which may expose their scriptural ignorance. They don’t accept responsibility for their failure(s). They have the attitude that ‘it is always someone else’s fault.’ They don’t listen to instruction or input. They refuse to accept Godly counsel or advice. They avoid any activity, conversation, topic or instruction that challenges their existing mindset and prejudices. They have a general lack of patience when listening to the pastor speak. They have a know-it-all attitude. Rather than hearing Truth, they gravitate towards things and messages that make them feel good. The Bible says it like this…
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” – 2 Ti 4:3 KJV
Of the unteachable, there are some that are smart enough not to talk back to a leader or to openly rebel against instructions that are given. However, there is such a thing as quiet rebellion and silent defiance. Inaction often marks quiet rebellion and silent defiance. When instructions, counsel, and advice is given, the input is ignored. Inaction becomes their trademarked response. Rather than openly defy leadership, they chose the passive aggressive response of simply not responding. The lack of growth in their spiritual life or breakthrough becomes evident of a unyielding spirit. As a result, their refusal and unwillingness to yield to the Lord causes them to grow become obnoxious to the leaders and the local assembly.
Let’s compare that behavior and mindset to those with a teachable spirit.
Those with a teachable spirit understand that they are submitted to God’s Perfecting process. They understand that God is working with them to bring them into a greater understanding of Him, His Riches, and their Inheritance.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Php 1:6 KJV
Those with a teachable spirit realize that there is always something that they can learn. They realize that there is always something that the Holy Spirit can teach them regardless of whether it comes from the most anointed Bible teacher ever or simply through a novice. They understand that they have not ‘arrived’ but continue to strive towards the higher things of God. Apostle Paul said it like this:
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Php 3:14 KJV
They have a humble attitude. They understand that by having a spirit of humility that promotion is simply a matter of time. In God’s Time, that is.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” – 1Pe 5:6 KJV
They are willing to seek, accept and apply Godly counsel.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. “ – Pro 11:14 KJV
They embrace the challenge of moving from their comfort zone. They understand that the process of becoming mature in Christ involves being ‘stretched.’ They understand that to grow, it requires learning new things and higher Biblical concepts. They are eager to explore the heights and depths of the things of God.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. “ – Eph 3:16-19 KJV
Those with a teachable spirit are willing to listen, absorb and grow. They are willing to apply the Word that they have been taught.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. “ – Jas 1:22 KJV
Those with a teachable spirit want to go to attend class and go to school so they can learn. In other words, they want to go to a church where they can learn about God and fellowship with the Saints. It is through close association to those leaders called by the Spirit of God that blessings, impartation and faith is released.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.“ – Heb 10:24-25 KJV
With all of that having been said, when it comes to having a teachable spirit, Jesus said it best:
“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “ – Mat 18:3-4 KJV
It is the little children that are eager to learn. Let us be like little children. Daily, we must be willing and eager to yield to God and be open to His instruction. We must learn to submit our will to His. God has so many things in store for us, blessing, promotion, prosperity to name a few. Let’s allow Him to teach us through His Word, by His Spirit, and through His Five-fold ministry gifts.
May God’s Grace Abundantly Reign In Your Life!
-Apostle Ric & Prophetess Kathy Steele
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According to the Scripture, Romans 8:28 says- “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The questions is, how do all these things work out to our benefit? God is a “God that declares “The End” from “The Beginning”. However, we must understand that He is also a God of process. There is a process that takes from the beginning unto the end.
By Dr. Ric Steele
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