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Reflections

What prevents us from learning more?

Following last week’s post on more to learn this week we are looking at what prevents us from learning more. I have identified four things that can hinder and prevent us from learning more.

Sin
Everyone sins, even the most godly person. However, that is not an excuse for us to fail to wrestle and struggle against the sinful desires we encounter. When we do sin we should immediately ask God for forgiveness and seek to turn from that sin. If we refuse to do this then it will effect our relationship with God.

One of the ways is that we will feel a gap opening up between us and God. This will often result in us not praying and neglecting to read the scriptures. Instead of having a hunger to learn more of God we will become lukewarm in our relationship with God.

Unconfessed sin will have a negative impact on us, but when we confess our sin we experience true forgiveness. In Psalm 32: 3-5 we see this in David’s life as he says:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of the summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my trangressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Distractions
Another way that we lose the desire to learn more is when other things distract us from spending time with God. These things may not necessary be bad or sinful in themselves, however we need to be aware of these distractions.

We may for example get into the habit of staying up late and watching TV, YouTube videos or browsing our favourite social media sites. Providing we are disciplined and careful with the above activities they can be relaxing. It’s easy though to fritter time away on these instead of spending time learning more about God. If we find ourselves going to bed late and feeling too tired to read our bibles or pray in the mornings, then we need to take action.

Whereas sin is normally obvious to us if we are being totally honest, distractions are not so. It might be a while before we realise how we have not been using our time wisely. When this is revealed to us it’s time to address the matter and introduce some changes to our lifestyles. Maybe we could consider having a day off the internet each week to make time for God or look at other lifestyle changes.

Tiredness
Another thing that can hinder us learning more is tiredness. There may be times in our lives when we are feeling tired and finding it a struggle to get through the days e.g.

  • When a mother has had a baby and is up during the night to feed them.
  • When we are involved in a busy work project which involves us working long hours
  • Following a medical operation when we have to spend time resting

In these situations it would be nonsensical to consider taking on a theology course, especially one that involved a commitment of several hours studying a week! It might be that the best we can manage is to listen to a Christian podcast for 5 minutes a day to edify ourselves. We have to accept that this is a season in our life where it’s not possible to spend several hours with God. The time will come eventually when our circumstances change and we can look forward to this.

Of course, if the tiredness is caused by too many late nights watching TV or YouTube then there is a simple solution: go to bed earlier!

I’m too old!
Another reason can be that we feel we are too old to learn more about God. I’m not referring to an arrogant attitude here that says we know it all. Instead I’m thinking of the lies that come into our mind that suggest we have left it too late in life to learn. This is a subtle form of attack as we might be very keen to grow in our knowledge of God, but feel rather dejected that we are too old and have missed the boat.

It’s probably unlikely that as a ninety year old that you are going to enrol on a three year residential theological course. However, there is no reason why you cannot consider doing a three or six month distance learning course.

In God’s eyes we are never to old to spend time to learn more about Him. There is no retirement age in God’s kingdom and we should never let old age prevent us from serving God.

Conclusion
Perhaps these four areas above have been ones that have prevented you from learning more about God. Maybe there are other reasons. The good thing is that once we discover the reason we can do something about these hindrances that are stopping us growing on our knowledge of God.

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