Yesterday we established the fact that Jesus has put us all in the discipleship and disciple-making business, and that part of understanding what that means is to realize we are all students of Christ. A disciple is a student, and class is always in session.
What does it mean to be a student? Well first, we’re students of Christ so that first and foremost, you want to be focusing on the red letters of the New Testament — the actual words of Jesus. This is what Jesus said we were to pass on: “everything I have commanded you.” That’s not only the spoken and written words of Jesus, it is also what Jesus has personally taught us and is teaching us now — life lessons gained through experience. If you’re a good student, you’re learning from everything. Your truth antenna is always up.
Then there are gifted thinkers and writers who open up new areas of understanding for us. This involves what you’re reading, what you’re watching, podcasts you’re listening to. Right now I’m finishing up Os Guinness’s The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity and getting started on Truth speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture by Walter Brueggemann. We are creating a list of recommended books and videos for you because we are all students, and our new website will have a training area for us to go to for materials. Along these lines, I’d love to hear what you are learning from right now. One of our MemberPartners just recommended Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller as a book that took him through the loss of his wife. He read it three times. He’s a student of his experience.
Something else about being students that is of vital importance in this age because of how contrary it is to the prevailing mood, and that would be an attitude of humility. Students are eager to learn. They know not only what they know, but how much they don’t know, and that is why they are teachable, open-minded and wide-eyed at the possibility of learning more. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)
With all of the advantages of smart phones and the internet, social media has also created a platform for anyone to pontificate on their opinion. You don’t see a lot of humility on social media. Self-proclaimed experts are everywhere, and attitudes of arrogance prevail. Everyone is 100% right and everyone else is 100% wrong. In this environment Christians need to exhibit an attitude of humbly seeking the truth. Even when we share the Gospel of Welcome and Grace Turned Outward, we share it as those who are in process. We are pointing to Jesus, not blowing smoke off the barrel of a gun with which we just mowed down all who disagree with us. Maintaining the attitude of a student is part of what a countercultural faith looks like today.
We are learners. We are students of Jesus. We don’t have all the answers, but we know who does, and we are learning at His feet. Always seeking, always growing, we are students forever at the feet of Jesus.