When we are learning to drive we put L plates on our cars to warn other motorists that we are learning, and then when we pass our test we rip up the L plates and can drive normally.
Yet I think we learn most about driving safely when we are actually driving, and so often the worst crashes are caused by people who think they know it all and sadly discover with dreadful consequences that they don’t know it all.
Too often I think we have this idea that learning is only a temporary thing until we pass a test, or master a technique or skill, or gain a certificate.
Too often we are too eager to tear up our L plates, all of us long to feel competent, knowledgeable and learned.
Yet, I would suggest that it is folly to believe we ever fully reach this destination, it is a sign of immaturity and pride to think we know it all.
Instead, let’s be Christians still with our L plates on, people that are life-long learners, going through life humbly seeking to find God and to grow through the circumstances we find in life.
A great question to ask in all we go through is to say “Holy Spirit, what is it you want to teach me in this situation?” Looking and seeking God’s voice in the chaotic and crazy world around us.
Let is never thinking we are experts and have nothing left to know, as not only does this puff us up with pride, it is folly to think we can ever put God and his creation in a box.
“My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts” says the Lord is Is.55
Part of our humanity is knowing that we are not, and never will be, all knowing but we surrender to a God who knows all things, is loving and can be trusted.
It is knowing that we as humanity aren’t at the centre of the universe that gives us wisdom… Perhaps that is why it is written “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”?
Paul urges the Christians in Rome to “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you”.
Yet, knowing the limitations of our humanity is not a reason to give up even trying to be a life long learner.
Bill Hybels says “Armed with enough humility leaders can learn from anyone”.
I would add that armed with enough prayerful discernment every circumstance can teach and shape us in our discipleship, sanctification and our walk with Christ.
James says “if anyone lacks wisdom they should ask God who gives generously”.
The question is not “are there opportunities to learn and grow?” The truth is these are all around us, but rather do we have a teachable spirit, a humility to learn, a desire for growth and discipleship?
Our discipleship depends on our openness to hear God’s voice with soft rather than a hard heart.
The humility to hear God’s voice sometimes in places that we ordinarily might choose to avoid, to seek God in the places of discomfort, and to be real and honest in hearing truths we might prefer to remain ignorant of.
In the Bond film Casino Royale M (the boss) says to Bond “Arrogance and self awareness rarely go together”.
I believe that self awareness is at the heart of discipleship, knowing what we are actually and really like rather than some self delusional view-point.
As the Psalmist urges us:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting”.
So, let’s keep the L plates on, and be open to all that God wants to teach us.