UnLearning so you can Learn

I have come to know that life is a process of unlearning as much as of learning.

There are likely many bad habits, ideas, incorrect thoughts, wrong impressions, prejudices, and beliefs that are obstacles in the way of our seeking and knowing the absolute truth.  Our schools, friends, parents,  relatives, neighbors, culture etc. are largely responsible for shaping how we think and who we become. Many if not all of our poor thinking habits can be traced back to those early years and can take many years to sort out. Learning from our own mistakes and experiences is key to growing in wisdom and understanding. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.

It’s important to remember that not all things are as they appear, and that God’s ways are not our ways.

Think about a time when you thought you were absolutely right about something, then changed your mind about it when you became wiser after learning more facts. (I’ve been there and done that countless times). I think there can be no true and faithful learning about Christ when we are not ready to unlearn. Someone once said that “pain plus insight plus time equals change.” Obviously, to live out new truths in our lives, in whatever area of life, more needs to occur in our lives than just the added insight. A painful event in our lives might help us unlearn. All these three (pain, insight, and time) work together to bring about change – unlearning so you can learn.

Jim Rohn once noted: “We created our current circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth. We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives.”

I believe that we need to be dependent upon the Lord, willing to learn from others, and to pray for them in a spirit of humility (being teachable) is foundational in our life.  Read 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Believers know that the humble grow and the proud fall. 1 Corinthians 8: 2-3 (NLT) tells us that “…while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.  Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.  But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”

The humble keep their notebooks open, because they believe they can learn something from everyone. They are not too proud to learn from people starting out, and because they are secure in what God has given them, they’re never too envious to not learn from people ‘above’ them. We need clear information regarding what we need to ‘unlearn’ to get us to where God wants us to be. The truth is we have a lot to unlearn and a lot to learn about radically demonstrating the love of Jesus in the world. Unlearning means going in a different direction as well as repentance (changing the way you think about things).

So how do we get there? The author Phillip Yauncey made the observation that there were 153 times in Scripture where someone came up and asked Jesus a question. 147 of those times, Jesus responded with another question. That’s a good role model, wouldn’t you say? Questions lead people, decisions and dreams to places that they could never get to otherwise. They bring awareness, clarity and power as we search for answers.

One of my favorite lines in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life book is: “You were made by God and for God,  and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”  I have learned that within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems we face. There are seven billion people living on earth and estimated six billion bibles in print, so getting a copy is easy. You can even download the YouVersion free App to your smart phone or tablet. So no more excuses. I know it can be hard to understand, make some time read the Bible to ask questions everyday. Zig Ziglar once remarked, “I read the Bible and the newspaper everyday to see what both sides are up to.”

Study the Word, memorize your favorite verses, pray and meditate on it. In Matthew 7:11 (NLT) Jesus said: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

We often make the Bible out to be a rulebook. But when we view it that way, we will lose interest quickly because there is no connection made. The Bible isn’t about rules; it’s about Jesus. It’s designed to be used in the context of relationship. The goal in reading the Word shouldn’t be to get to a certain chapter, but to meet Jesus along the way.

Remember, how we choose to live is who we become. “Live to learn and you will really learn to live.” ― John C. Maxwell 

The goal for all of us should be to become more like Jesus.

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

So be a truth seeker.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32


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