Lifelong Learning as a Means of Spiritual Growth

The wise person continues to learn. Learning is mostly by discipline, not by accident. The more we learn about God, the more we love him.

Lifelong Learning as a Means of Spiritual Growth
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

The challenge is to learn (grow in knowledge) and remain zealous (grow in passion).

Learning Characterizes the Wise Person

  • “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)
  • “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 23:12)

Learning and Loving God

  • “The more we know Him the more we are able to love Him. The more we love Him the more we seek to know Him.”[1] (R.C. Sproul)

Learning and Increased Godliness

  • “Let us never forget that the message of the Bible is addressed primarily to the mind, to the understanding.” (D. Martin Lloyd Jones)
  • “It is impossible that anyone should see the truth or excellency of any doctrine of the gospel, who knows not what that doctrine is. A man cannot see the wonderful excellency and love of Christ in doing such and such things for sinners, unless his understanding be first informed.” (Jonathan Edwards)

Learning Is Mostly by Discipline, Not by Accident

  • “It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right.” (Job 32:9)

Various Ways of Learning

  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Listen to audio programs and watch video programs
  • Plan for meaningful dialogue with spiritually mature Christians.
  • Read the best books. You can only read so many books in your lifetime.

“The end of learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love him and to imitate him.” (John Milton)

Perseverance in Spiritual Disciplines

The Role of the Holy Spirit

“A major temptation in the self-discipline approach to holiness, however, is to rely on a regiment of spiritual disciplines instead of on the Holy Spirit. I believe in spiritual disciplines. I seek to practice them. But those disciplines are not the source of our spiritual strength. The Lord Jesus Christ is, and it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to apply His strength to our lives.” (Jerry Bridges - Disciplines of Grace p. 135)

The Role of Fellowship

  • Socializing involves the sharing of human and earthly life in ways common to both believers and unbelievers.
  • Christian fellowship involves talking about God, the things of God, and life from a uniquely Christian perspective.
  • “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

The Role of Struggle

  • Struggle with our sinful flesh
  • Struggle with the devil
  • “So we need to remember that any idea of getting beyond conflict, outward or inward, in our pursuit of holiness in this world is an escapist dream that can only have disillusioning and demoralizing effects on us as waking experience daily disproves it. What we must realize, rather, is that any real holiness in us will be under hostile fire all the time, just as our Lord’s was.” (J.I. Packer - Keep in Step with the Spirit p.111)

  1. R.C. Sproul, “Burning Hearts Are Not Nourished by Empty Heads,” Christianity Today, Sept 3, 1982, 100. ↩︎