Growing in Faith
No matter how old you are and no matter what kind of career you are in, you need to be learning. Pick up a new skill. Study a fresh topic. Read a new book. Start a new Bible study.
We are forever learning, growing, maturing as we follow Jesus. It doesn't stop once we are saved or reach a certain age. It is continual until the day we meet Jesus and are called up with Him for eternity.
The Christian faith is not one course of study: once you're saved the learning is complete. Our mindset shouldn’t be to first do our learning and then spend the rest of our lives drawing from that original deposit of knowledge. We have to keep learning new things about Jesus and what it means to be His follower. Rather, ongoing health in the Christian life is linked to ongoing learning.
Many of us have felt the comfort of Philippians 1:6 (NLT), that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion . . .” but the statement doesn’t end there. Yes, we have the great promise of completion, but then follows a disclosure about the timing, “. . . at the day of Christ.” The loop of learning doesn’t close today or tomorrow, but as Jesus tarries, a lifetime lies ahead. And within that life time we are to be learning to be more like Jesus: in thought, action, speech, in everyday life.
We are not given knowledge all at once, but forever we have new mercies to discover, fresh revelations to receive, new things to learn about our Lord. We are not just given a promise of increase that is lifelong, but eternal.
And so we are lifelong learners.
There is indeed something we, as Christians then spend the rest of our days exploring and going deeper in: it is the “word” or “message” about Jesus, God’s incarnate Word. Simply put, the focal point and center of our lifelong learning is the person and work of Christ. All things are in Him, through Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:17).
When we say “learners,” we don’t mean of mere facts, information, and head knowledge. We mean all that and more. We don’t just learn facts, but we learn a face. We learn a heart...the face of Jesus, the heart of Jesus. We are not just learners of principles, but of a Person. We are lifelong learners in relationship with Jesus as we hear His voice in His word and have His ear in prayer, and share in community with His body, all through the power of His Spirit.
And one of the chief ways we know His person more is by learning more about His work for us. Not only are we “rooted and grounded” in Christ’s love for us at Calvary, but we press on “to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19, NLT).
The heart of lifelong learning for the Christian is not merely digging deeper in the bottomless store of information there is to learn about the world and humanity and history, but plunging into the flood of Christ’s love. The center of lifelong learning for the Christian is knowing God Himself in Christ through the gospel word and the written word of the scriptures — in the hearing and reading and study and meditation and memorization of the Bible.
When you stop learning, you start dying. It’s that simple.
One of the most important roles you have in life is as a student. Jesus wants us to be disciples. That’s just another word for learner. You are learning what it means to follow Christ.
Disciples of Jesus keep learning. They never stop.
You will do yourself a favor when you keep learning. The Bible teaches us, “Those who get wisdom do themselves a favor, and those who love learning will succeed” (Proverbs 19:8, NLT)