Daniel Fast Day 10

Learning Matters - Part 2

Learning matters. If we are not learning, we are not growing. If we are not growing, we are not fruitful. If we are not fruitful, we cannot please the Father. Therefore, we need to ask the tough questions.  If we don’t ask them of ourselves, we will find ourselves continually stuck and spinning our proverbial wheels. We need to ask questions such as; “what hinders my spiritual growth and development”, and “what hinders my learning”?

Someone said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Once you’ve concluded that you know a lot about a particular subject, it becomes very easy to shut off new avenues of learning. That is why as followers of Christ, our learning is different than simply stocking up on information, because we are always aiming at life change. 
1 Corinthians 8:1-2(EASY) “You asked me a question about food that people have offered to idols. You say, ‘We all know about these things.’ We know that is true. But when you know about something, that can make you proud. Love is better. Love helps people to become strong. Some people may think that they know everything. People like that do not know as much as they ought to know.”

Knowledge by itself has the tendency to make us prideful. Knowledge alone puffs up, but knowledge rooted in love creates within us a desire to change. Because we love our Creator, we want to know how to please Him, so we are willing to learn. Having information and not acting on it reveals two things, arrogance and ignorance. Arrogance, because we think we already know it and therefore don’t need to learn, and ignorance, because it shows we don’t know as much as we say we do. Both arrogance and ignorance cause us to focus on the wrong things instead of the right things. The right things to focus on are found in Colossians 3:10(NLT) “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him."

We are told to put on the new, be renewed as we learn to know, and become more like our Creator. That is where our focus should be if we are going to grow and bear fruit. We need the right information to renew our minds, a heart revelation to grasp the truth, and the power of the Holy Spirit to inspire a zealousness to obey and act out the truth. Unless we attempt to do something new, something beyond what we already have done, we will never grow. However, the wrong things to focus on are the things that absolutely don’t matter to our spiritual growth or even our spiritual heritage. If we are all our Father’s children, then our natural origin doesn’t matter. Colossians 3:11(NLT)  “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”

Paul makes it very clear that all the old labels we went by no longer have any relevance to us. What is relevant is the fact that Christ Jesus lives in us, and we have a Heavenly Father who created us. As we learn about Him and focus on imitating Him, we disregard the things that don’t matter and will never matter in eternity. Philippians 3:5-9a(NLT) “I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” 

What would make a man call his family heritage, cultural heritage, national heritage, racial heritage, religious heritage, and moral heritage worthless? Not just worthless, but garbage! Everything else is garbage, everything else is worthless, compared to what? Compared to knowing Jesus! Here’s a sobering thought; “Whatever you think is more important than Jesus isn’t, and you are wrong!”

Before we knew Christ, these things might’ve seemed valuable and important, but now in Christ, they become meaningless. Paul is unshakable in his declaration and devotion of making his primary pursuit in life knowing Christ Jesus! What or who is your primary pursuit? What have you counted as garbage so that you may gain the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus? I love the language Paul uses, “Christ Jesus my Lord”. He is clear not only in his love, but also in his submission to Jesus. Our lives can be so crowded with things that we deem as important that they hinder us from pursuing the most important, learning about Christ. The most fruitful believers are those who are willing to learn and live with discernment, to recognize that which is valuable, and that which is worthless.

Many Christians have a functional relationship with Christ, instead of a fruitful one. They can say all the right things, but lack the fruit that is supposed to be evident of those who are disciples of Christ. They can quote some Scripture, but they lack sound doctrine. Don’t get tripped up by the word doctrine. Doctrine simply means a held set of beliefs. If we have a faulty belief system, we cannot and will not have a correct operating system, which means you cannot act right if you do not believe right. We will value the wrong things and if we value the wrong things, we will pursue the wrong things. We become what we value, but what we value comes from what we think is valuable. That stems from what we know and what we have learned, all based on what kind of information we have embraced.

We must become great learners! It may require unlearning some things, relearning sound Biblical truths, and refocusing on the right things. We are God’s family! We are His children! We have a common bond through Jesus Christ! God’s kingdom is the most valuable thing to pursue. Where we come from doesn’t matter, what natural family we were born into doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is learning and growing in Christ!

Galatians 3:28-29(MSG) “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.” 

Prayer and Reflection: 
  • Many people have no plan to learn and/or they have no plan for their spiritual growth. Do you have a plan for your spiritual growth or do you think it will happen automatically?
  • Sometimes you have to stop before you can move forward. You might have to dig before you get your stuck vehicle out of the mud. Where in your life do you need to do some digging? Have you thought about what is hindering your spiritual development? 
  • What is the next step that you need to take for your spiritual growth? When will you start?
  • What are you focusing on? Is there anything you should count as garbage so that you may gain the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus?
  • We are told in Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity.” The phrase “press on” tells us that there’s a process that takes energy and effort. What kind of effort are you making towards learning and growing in Christ?

Father, thank You for Your faithful love. Thank You that You created me for a purpose. I was created to bring You glory. I was created to honor Your Name. I was created to fellowship with You. I was formed for Your family. There is nothing greater than knowing Christ Jesus. How wonderful to know that I am in Your family and that Christ is all that matters.

Father, I ask that You would help me and my fellow believers to focus on the things that matter and not on the things that fade away. Remind all of us that there is no division in Your House. Help us to pursue Your kingdom and learn what is necessary. Remove any arrogance that might be hidden in our hearts and help us to overcome all ignorance. Jesus, may we all know You deeply, pursue You sincerely, and imitate Your life every day. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
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