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Developing a Learning Disposition

© 2022 Philip M Spence


Philippians 4:9


The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.


The Apostle Paul gave the people at Philippi some keys in this verse that can help us to develop a learning disposition.


[1] Develop a Listening Ear


So often people are so keen to express what they think, or the ideas they have, that they don’t hear what others may have to contribute. It has often been said that we have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak. This is good advice for those who wish to be more teachable.


We all have a need to be heard and appreciated and we all warm to people who will take the time to listen. We establish and promote an attractive culture when we become listeners. It's amazing how much we can learn as we allow others to speak and we simply listen to them.


[2] Develop a Receptive Heart


A listening ear must be related to a receptive heart. A receptive heart is willing to adjust or change on the basis of what has been heard. An unwilling heart will not receive truth, even though it will be beneficial to the hearer. However, a heart that is willing to receive the person speaking, and what they are saying, is the key to learning, growing, and maturing.


Humility is the key to developing a receptive heart. It takes humility to hold back our opinions, ideas, and advice, so that we can hear and receive what others are saying. In addition, when we are truly listening and receiving, we will then begin to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us in what someone else is saying. This may be the greatest key to learning and growing.


[3] Develop the Ability to Observe


When my oldest son was about ten years old, he asked me if he could drive our car. I told him that I was willing to teach him, but he replied that he had been watching me and he was sure he could do it if I gave him the opportunity. To my surprise, when he got behind the wheel, he simply drove the car. He had developed the ability to learn by observation.


Jesus didn’t say that we should teach people to do what He has taught us to do (Matthew 28:20). Jesus told His disciples that they should teach people to observe these things. He meant that we should watch, and then guard what we’ve come to comprehend. If we listen, receive, and observe, we will develop a strong learning disposition.


[4] Develop a ‘Doer’ Attitude


In the long-term, people are attracted to practitioners rather than theorists. While it might be interesting to hear the ideas, most people want to see the proof in action. Teachability in the Kingdom creates an attractive culture when people around see us living the life we espouse. For many people outside the Kingdom, the things of God are only real to them if they see Kingdom people practising them.


Observing means that we see how what we’re hearing and receiving can be put into action in our lives. This is essential because a learning disposition must mean that what we’re understanding has a practical outworking in our lives. In fact, in the Biblical context, one only truly knows something when they have proven that it works in practice.


Be blessed!


Philip M Spence

Author – Speaker – Mentor – Musician

Brisbane, Australia


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