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Why You Need A Teachable Spirit

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Proverbs 19:20

One of the greatest qualities we can have is a willingness to listen to advice. Not just any advice, but wise counsel.

A teachable spirit is neither stubborn nor gullible. While stubborn refuses to listen, gullible falls for anything.

And a teachable spirit doesn’t hear only what it wants to hear. These days, there’s a great political divide among Americans. Just about a 50-50 split. The debate is fueled by an overabundance of opinions and salacious news headlines that tickle our ears and play to our biases. Many of us have gotten to the point we are willing to believe the worst about people whether it’s true or not.

When listening to advice, we must consider the source. I wince at some of the so-called Christian counsel on Facebook. And NO, I did not forward your post to 10 of my friends to prove I really love Jesus.

Sound advice comes from properly motivated, time tested, reliable, godly people. First in my record book was my grandmother. Second was Rev. George Smith, the pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in my hometown. The wisest counsel I’ve ever received has come from the Bible, reliable commentaries, and trustworthy instruction from Bible scholars.

The best advice comes from the people who care most about us. I mentioned my grandmother, and my wife definitely belongs on the list. Funny isn’t it? The people who give us the most heartfelt advice based on their intimate knowledge of us are the ones we often reject, which is how we get labeled as STUBBORN.

Good advice can bruise egos, hurt feelings, and even make you mad. But upon further consideration you may realize the criticism is valid.  Yep. Advice often comes as criticism. I doubt any of us love to be criticized. We may even pitch a little fit, but in the end, if we listen and accept valid advice, we will benefit.

In addition to listening to advice, our focus scripture also teaches that we should accept discipline.

As grownups we think of discipline as something parents give their children. But scripture teaches that God disciplines those He loves and that we are to view hardship as discipline. (Hebrews 12:6)

We can learn a great deal from hardship. It is, in fact, a great teacher. First lesson I remember is the time, as a child, when I put my hand on hot stove burner. Never did it again. My second big lesson was when I decided I could outrun my Daddy. I was wrong, paid the price, and never tried it again.

Life teaches that our behavior has consequences. A teachable spirit learns from those experiences. We learn that we truly are what we eat. Bad food choices and bad eating habits lead to obesity and disease. Lack of physical activity also negatively affects our health. Not caring for our teeth causes them to rot. Failure to change the oil in the car damages the engine. Speeding results in a ticket and a fine. We are disciplined by neglect, bad choices, and as the result of sin. But, if we have a teachable spirit, we will abandon the destructive behavior and be better for it.

To become wise, you need a teachable spirit, willing to listen to advice and accept discipline. So – will you accept this advice?

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Need Wise Counsel

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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