As my studies tarry on I find that I learn best when I let myself be a student. Sure, on paper that’s what I or anyone else in any level of school is: a student. I’m not talking about that though. Anyone can be in school but not everyone is truly present in the class room.
In my case, school, especially graduate studies, has a way of puffing my chest up (I have a feeling I’m not the only one). When I learn something new and captivating I chomp at the bit to tell people. Now, this is not a bad thing necessarily. Isn’t that what I am in seminary to do…to learn God’s word so I am better able to teach God’s word? Absolutely!
However, if my goal is to dominate others with head knowledge then I’m missing the point of teaching. If domination was the point, then teaching would be no more than making myself feel smarter at someone else’s expense. Can anyone truly learn like this? As a Christian it makes no sense to destroy someone with knowledge by lording it over them. This is completely counter intuitive to the Christian faith. We are to love our neighbor not demean them.
Over the last few semesters, especially this semester, I’ve been learning the importance of being humble. Philippians 2 comes to mind. Here the Apostle Paul goes on and on about the attitude of Christ and makes the jaw dropping statement that: “He (Christ)… didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Really!?! You are God right? This begs the question: If Christ, as God, humbled himself then how much more should I, as a mere human, humble myself? If I claim to be Christ’s follower but am unwilling to humbly receive and express knowledge then I’ve not truly emulated the attitude of Christ!
Therefore, if we hope to learn or teach anything we must assume our own ignorance. How can we learn if we think we already know? How can we have redemptive discourse if we assume first that we know it all? There is nothing wrong with knowing that we possess meaningful knowledge. However, if we do not speak it with a humble heart then have we really learned anything except arrogance?
This is something I’m still thinking through and wrestling with. Of my many weaknesses pride is perhaps the greatest. Learning to learn by taking the posture of a humble student will be a life long process.