Monday, June 19, 2006

Every Day Death: Becoming Teachable

"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."-Proverbs 1:8-9

Have you ever tried to debate with someone who is convinced that they are right? You try and you try to reason with them, but they refuse to consider the possibility that they are wrong. As frustrated as I often am by stubborness, I confess that I can be extremely stubborn myself. I tend to want to teach---not be taught!

Proverbs 15:32 says,

"He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding."

We all want to be wise and have understanding, but do we take the steps required to become wise? Do we listen and accept rebuke? We cannot make any steps toward wisdom without being willing to surrender and be taught. Surrender.

Jim Elliot once wrote,

"'He makes His ministers a flame of fire.' Am I ignitible? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul--short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him. 'Make me Thy Fuel, Flame of God.'"

Not long after writing the above quote, Jim Elliot left with his young wife for the mission field in Ecuador. There, he and four other missionaries attempted to reach a previously unreached Indian tribe--the Aucas--with the Word of God. On January 8, 1956, they were attacked by a group of Auca tribesmen. Though each of the missionaries had brought rifles with them for protection, they all refused to use them in self defense. Every one of the missionaries was killed.

All five of the missionaries who died were young, newly married, and seemed to have their entire lives ahead of them. Yet, conscious of the danger of trying to reach the Aucas, they sacrificed their own interests for the purpose of obeying God. What does this have to do with us? It is most likely that we will not all have to die for our faith as Jim Elliot did, but each of us must die to ourselves.

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24

It has been said before that it is easier for us to surrender our bodies to death than it is to surrender our will to God. This death to ourselves is not one that we only die once, but it is a continual, every day death to our own selfish desires. This surrender includes giving up our own stubborness and willfulness and laying it at Christ's feet, giving it up so that we might become teachable and pliable in His hands.

Charles Spurgeon said,

"Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character. Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ—nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business—are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, “Is that a mean reason?” For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery? Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian—its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word—Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, 'Ready for either.'”


Re-posted by Kristin, originally written by Hannah Beth



Blogger Wholesome Works said...

That is a great post.

It is something we need to be reminded of over and over again.


June 20, 2006 10:55 PM  
Blogger Owen Family said...

Excellent and timely (for me at least!). :o)

I appreciate your straight forward approach to such subjects.

- Chelsea

June 21, 2006 1:59 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Thank you - this was a good exhortation for me. Do I think I am wise and able to teach others? I will show true wisdom in also being teachable.
That excerpt from Spurgeon is EXCELLENT. He is one of my favorite preachers. Thanks for sharing!

July 01, 2006 9:14 AM  

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