James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
Are you the smartest person you know? Do you feel like the people in your church don’t know as much about life as you do, even those in leadership? Do you feel when someone tries to teach you, the lesson is not needed because you’re fine the way you are? Have you found it difficult to stay faithful in one church for a long time because people can’t “get it together” the way you “have it together?”
If you’ve answered any of these probing questions with “yes,” then most likely you’re unteachable. If you’re really unteachable and have a bad case of it, you probably think I’m wrong and don’t think these questions apply to you. If you could explain yourself then you’d be justified in not receiving from others (including me), because you really want to learn, but you don’t need to learn how to be teachable, others need to come up to your level first to teach you, right?
Those who are unteachable often times have the biggest planks in their eyes because they don’t think they need anyone’s help.
I used to be unteachable. I actually thought it was my job in Bible College to teach the professors how to do their jobs. Sure, I had only been saved for 18 months and had never been in ministry, but I thought I was so anointed that it didn’t matter- I was “special.” I sincerely believed that God had given me the supernatural ability to teach those “naïve” professors theology.
Granted they had master’s degrees, over 25 years of full time ministry experience and had been walking with the Lord for 50 plus years- but that wasn’t important. What was important was that God called me to be their teacher. God have mercy! Long story short, within the first semester I was kicked out because of my pride. And if the Lord hadn’t been merciful to me while I was getting gas to drive home, my life would have been a disaster.
Unteachable people are some of the hardest to deal with in the church because their pride is deeply rooted in their false view of themselves. Sometimes what they may be saying has a hint of truth but because they go about it the wrong way it always brings the wrong results. Know-it-all’s will gossip and call it “telling the truth.” They will try to split a small group or church faster than you can say, “hypocrite!” And they will do it all in the name of “truth” and “righteousness!” Just like the Jews in the Bible, they will actually think killing Jesus is a good thing. In times like this the old saying is true, “With ‘friends’ like this who needs enemies?” If the devil can divide and tear apart a church because unteachable people can’t humble themselves and follow leadership- who needs demons- the church will tear itself apart- Lord help us!
Consider what James wrote concerning what wisdom from God is really like; “13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:13-18).
So what is the solution to being unteachable? Christ-like humility that is “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Do you struggle with being a know-it-all? Then pray this out loud, “Father, please forgive me for acting in pride and hurting your people. Humble me and give me a teachable peace-loving heart. Send people into my life to help me grow and teach me how to receive correction. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
When was the last time you were unteachable?
- Repent of the times you have been unteachable.
- Be peace-loving, even when you’re right and people disagree with you.
- Open your heart to learn from others because no one knows it all!