Learning As Spiritual Discipline
Get wisdom; get understanding.
Don’t forget and don’t turn away from my words.
Don’t abandon her, and she will guard you.
Love her, and she will protect you. Proverbs 4:5-6 CEB
Learning can be a spiritual discipline. Discovering new information, facts and understandings can open our souls to new things about our spiritual life and about God.
We practice being receptive and aware when we receive new information, changing and challenging our own thinking and traditions when we learn. If practiced daily, learning opens the mind and spirit to what God is trying to tell us. We learn not to judge too quickly but to identify our core beliefs, and engage with others.
The Holy Spirit can speak to us through life long learning. The very act of opening one’s self to new information can allow the Holy Spirit to reside within us, bringing about change in a person’s spirit, attitude and life.
Learning and questioning can be scary, but with practice, we can push through our temporary feelings of discomfort and ambiguity so that we come out on the other side with a deeper appreciation of our God.
One of the best educational activities is to instruct others, as it encourages us to continue our personal learning. In Ephesians, parents are asked to nurture their children in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), and the Greek word paideia, translated as “nurture” carries with it the idea of training, education, instruction and discipline.
The United Methodist Church insists upon a rigorous training program for the clergy of our denomination because of their sacred duty in leadership, and as an example for the members of their congregations.
Learning is a sacred act, and let us remember to practice it every day. In doing so, we can come to learn more about ourselves and our God.