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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

More To Learn

No matter how long we have been a Christian there is always more to learn for each of us. No one can ever say that they know everything and there is nothing further to learn. In fact I sometimes feel that the older I get the more I need to learn!

With this in mind it is good to ask ourselves what steps are we taking to learn more of God? It’s all very well knowing we have more to learn but what should we do about this? There are many different ways we can do this including:

Making Time To Learn from Others
There are so many resources which are available to help us. We can listen to preachers, teachers and scholars, learning from their experiences of God. The internet provides us with access to a huge amount of Christian material which can benefit us spiritually. We may not be able to attend a conference for various reasons but there is a good chance that material from it will be freely available on-line for us to consume.

In addition to listening to God’s Word being preached from sermons we can also feast on the rich variety of spiritual books that are available to us. Not only can we purchase books from our local Christian bookshop we can find free books available on-line for us to read too.

Christian blogs can also be a source of blessing and edification to us and many offer the option to subscribe to them so we can read their latest postings.

Making Time to Read Scripture
It is important that we make time each day to read and study the scriptures and deepen our knowledge of God. If we neglect reading the bible we will find it difficult to grow as Christians.

Although we live such busy lives it is worth deliberately setting aside a time each day, this could be morning or evening depending on your personal circumstances, to read the scriptures. Even if you find it difficult to do this it is an essential habit to develop. I have found it personally helpful to set aside a period of time in the mornings to read the bible after I have had my shower.

Some people find it helpful to have a notebook with them when they are reading the bible so they can write down what God might be saying to them through the scriptures.

To assist us in our reading and studying of the bible it can sometimes be useful to have a commentary available. There are a number of bible commentaries that can be found on-line for free that we can use.

Making Time to take a Theology course
This will not be appropriate for everyone but another possibility is to consider undertaking a theology course. Anyone interested in this has various different options which they could consider.

There are theological colleges that offer residential courses of varying lengths. Some churches run short theology courses that might be another possibility if a residential one is not practical. Additionally there are a number of courses that are offered for distance learning.

If this is something that interests you it’s probably best to have a chat with one of your church leaders who will be able to advise you on this.

Hopefully the above has given you some ideas of how you can continue to learn. There is always more to learn, no matter how young or old you might be. Let us strive to continue to learn for as long as we are on this earth.