starting soon. Students are preparing to hit the books again. Some will study to
earn a diploma, but no disciple of Jesus Christ graduates from the school of
Christian growth. We are all called to learn from Jesus, so now is a good time
to ask ourselves: Am I teachable?
My recent study of Psalm 119 revealed a
lot about being teachable. As I read it, I found myself asking, if my heart is
ready learn from the Lord…
1. Does God’s Word motivate me to
I will praise you with an upright heart, when
I learn your righteous rules. (Psalm 119:7)
We often have many reasons
for studying God’s Word — is worship one of mine? The psalmist says in verse 7
that he wants to learn the Lord’s righteous rules so that he can praise him with
an upright heart. He says in verse 12, “Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your
statues!” The blessedness of the Lord has captured his heart and drives him to
study, that he might give God the adoration he deserves.
2. Do I admit
when I’m wrong?
Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your
law! (Psalm 119:29)
In verse 26 the psalmist says, “When I told of my
ways, you answered me” and then says, “Put false ways far from me” (v. 29). He
has opened his heart to the Lord, honestly confessing, and now that the Lord has
answered him he is looking for correction from what is false within him. I find
it hard to admit when I’m wrong, but it is vital to embrace my limited capacity
and value what is right and true over what made sense to me in the past.
3. Do I know my limitations?
Your hands have made and
fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. (Psalm
The psalmist looks to the Lord as teacher because he is his
Creator; he knows his dependence is on the Limitless One. While pride seeks
knowledge in order to evaluate what is true, a posture of humility asks God for
his wisdom and receives understanding with gratitude.
4. Do I believe
God can change me?
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I
will keep it to the end. (Psalm 119:33)
Sometimes we harden our heart to
instruction because we lack faith that God can change our desires to do his
will. We forget that God has promised to give us both his instruction and the
power to carry it out (Jude 24). The Father purposes that through his teaching
we may grow and learn to reflect the glory of his Son Jesus, and his purposes
always come to pass.
5. Do I know the love of my
The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me
your statutes! (Psalm 119:64)
We will find it a joy to seek and trust the
teaching of the one whose love fills the whole earth. Do I believe that God’s
love is written all over his good creation? Do I believe that same love comes to
me through his Word? When we see and know God’s love intimately, we can say with
confidence: “Deal with you servant according to your steadfast love, and teach
me your statues.”
6. Do I trust the goodness of my
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. (Psalm
The psalmist says to the Lord: “You are good and do good” (v.68).
This confidence in the Lord’s goodness helps us navigate the more difficult
truths of Scripture, when we may be tempted to stray from them by hardening our
hearts. We trust his goodness in trials because we have seen the ultimate
display of goodness triumphing in affliction at the cross.
7. Do I
value the Word of God as the ultimate source of wisdom?
I have more
understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
The psalmist is not boasting in himself, but joyfully
boasting that the Lord’s wisdom is superior to all of man’s wisdom. He holds up
all other instruction to the standard of the Lord’s teaching, not the other way
8. Do I ask God questions?
My eyes long for your
promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” (Psalm 119:82)
trusts the Lord, and yet he asks hard questions like, “When will you comfort
me?” (v. 82), “How long must your servant endure?” and “When will you judge
those who persecute me?” (v. 84). These questions reveal a longing for
fulfillment of the Lord’s promises, as well as an honest wrestling with God’s
The world is a confusing place. I struggle to grasp hold of the
eternal. But Jesus made the way for me to have a living, transacting
relationship with the Author himself — hard questions included.
What have I learned from my previous lessons?
It is good for me that I
was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)
of being teachable is the passing of a test. The good student appreciates tests
because he knows they reveal evidence of growth and the need for further
10. Am I a servant?
Deal with your servant according
to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:124)
is a remarkable tie in Psalm 119 between the psalmist’s desire to be taught and
his identity as the Lord’s servant. The sum of the law of God is love — love for
God and neighbor — while the ultimate expression of love is death to self for
the benefit of someone else. The more we grow in knowledge of the Lord, the more
we will seek to serve others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. As
an apprentice serves alongside the Master as the trade is taught, so we learn by
doing, and as servants of Christ we seek to join in the Father’s
While I am not the student I long to be, it’s my hope and peace
that only Jesus Christ, my Substitute, served his Father perfectly, even taking
the time to learn what he surely already knew (Luke 2:46-52). Because of the
cross, I have confidence that my sin has been atoned for and the righteousness
required by God is mine in Jesus Christ.
He is my help and my salvation,
and his Spirit gives me hope that my soul will one day say, “I do not turn aside
from your rules, for you have taught me” (Psalm 119:102).
Rachel Lehner, a happy wife and mother of four]