A scoffer seeks Wisdom in vain [for his very attitude blinds and deafens him to it], but knowledge is easy to him who [being teachable] understands. Pro 14:6 Amp
Set like Plaster
Our character is believed to settle down into being hardwired after 25. This is shocking, though it might not be news. What happens?
When I moved into a newly built group of apartment houses with my wife years ago, the architect had decided not to make any paths in-between the houses, but turn the area into a piece of lawn. One would see where the grass was downtrodden after a while and build paths there, as these seemed to be the pathways people used to go from building to building.
This worked well, and after the paths were built, they were used too. Hardly ever did anybody leave a path and walk over the lawn.
The same happens with our brains.
When we are born, there are hardly any pathways in our brain. Everything is new, and we have to learn everything. But as we get more proficient in some things, hardwired thinking paths are built—actually, being proficient depends on those hardwired paths to exist. And we start to follow those pathways.
As everything, out thoughts tend to take the path of least resistance. Paths often followed get engrained deeper into our brain, and at a point of time become somewhat unconscious reactions and reflexes. We think in downtrodden pathways. Our mind is set like plaster.
Knowing this, it suddenly makes more sense that children and young people are more teachable. They learn easier, but are manipulated easier as well. It is great to have the honour to teach a child. If they trust you, you can invest in them for life.
But teachability should go on a lifetime. Why? Because we are set on a trajectory to get to know God. We need to find the city that Abraham set out to find and never found during his lifetime. The city portrayed in Revelation, adorned, the bride of Christ that comes down from heaven. Us. The city that God lives in, in our midst. Where we can see him without a curtain or veil to blind our eyes and blur our vision.
How do we keep those thoughts flexible? Learn something new all the time. Refuse to go down the downtrodden path. Question what we know in order to find greater truth, deeper value.
We need focused attention and deliberate practice and repetition. We do not learn on the spot, and we do not un- and relearn immediately. It takes focused attention, deliberate practice and repetition.
In our church we teach on the blessing of giving in every service and give people the opportunity to give. Deliberate practice and repetition.
That is the only way we carve out new paths, build new ways of thinking.
Ever changing, always the same
You might be scared by that. It means that at times, nothing should and can be fixed. No stability, always on a journey. In deeper and up higher. Constant change.
The moment I think that I have a grasp on a biblical concept, I start to question it again. There must be more.
God’s mercy is new every morning. Fresh, different, well, just new. If that is so, and God is a creative God, he is the ever changing God. Yet he has promised us that he is the same every day. He limits himself to be our anchor of stability, our fixed star , our reference point, so that everything around and everything within us can change.
Do I say that one has to doubt everything at every moment? By no means. There are so many truths, so many layers of truths in God’s principles, and we can trust each and every level. But beneath every truth there is a greater one on the next level, closer to God’s heart.
As soon as we start to defend our understanding of our faith, we start to dig a trench, and we actually set ourselves in plaster.
I am not talking compromise. I am talking search. I am not talking tolerance. I am talking teachability. I am not talking restlessness. I am talking coming into rest discovering the Father.
Rethink all the big concepts of the bible. Allow the known to be questioned. Do not follow what you are told blindly.
Sometimes we have to accept in faith what we are told. That is wisdom. It is a starting point. Add understanding and grow.
Sometimes we have to accept that we do not know something, and probably can’t, because the concept is too big for this earth. That should keep us striving while giving us comfort and rest and awe, because we recognise the greatness of God.
Sometimes new revelation will show us that we were—wrong. Ask for forgiveness and go forward.
Sometimes, the new layer will perfectly complement the old and unlock some new authority, bring about some great change in your life. The old was good for a time, but now…
This is how God works with his people as a whole as well as with the individual. Just think of the progressing revelation in the bible.
Don’t be foolish
Will you be able to do this on your own? Never.
On our own, even if our relationship with the Holy Spirit is strong, we are prone to go down paths that lead into confusion or even destruction. We tend to take things to far.
That does not even stop if we are together with likeminded and yeasayers. You land in a roadside ditch. Galatians and many more modern churches go back under law to protect their faith. The ditch of legalism. You find a new sin every Sunday for the people to repent from. The reaction? Greasy grace, everything goes. To other side of the road, but a ditch as well. Just as an example.
Get yourself into a crowd of thinkers and doers, searchers and leaders, adventurers and teachable hearts. People that have a living and breathing relationship with the Son and hear the Holy Spirit well. People on the move to get to know the Father better. Starting with wisdom, adding understanding, to know him.
People that know how to correct and be corrected, encourage an be encouraged, teach and be taught. People anointed to invest themselves into others, like the fivefold ministry.
God will, in such a safe environment, put his finger on things to tell you to go deeper. Be it your understanding of the cross. Be it the question of where we come from, including creation. Maybe it is about where we go, what we grow into, who we are to become. Whatever God shows you, dig deeper. Get wisdom from the bible, from other believers you trust, from revelation in your time with God praying. Get understanding. Know him better. Grow, mature, into all God has for you.
Tell us, what topic God is talking to you about. Would you?