The Teachability Protocol

Come unto me . . . and learn of me. Matthew 11:28–29

Jesus invited the weary to partner with Him in His redemptive purpose: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29). To take Christ’s “yoke” means to link up with Him. The sin laden are bidden to exchange their oppressive yokes for Jesus’ life-giving yoke. “Learn of me” is the Savior’s invitation to the needy. He bids all who will come to do so and to learn about Him and from Him. All who approach Jesus must be teachable—the teachability protocol.

Many Christians want to serve God—as advisors! But God neither requires nor desires an update from us on current events. Those who “advise” God make no inquiry into the heart of God. They have no desire or capacity to be taught by Christ. They simply want God to act on their behalf in the way they think best. Such arrogance makes prayer an impossibility.

Ole Hallesby said, “To pray is to tell Jesus what we lack. Intercession is to tell Jesus what we see that others lack.” Then, once we present to the Lord our concerns, we must humbly leave them with Him to address them as He will. At the marriage feast where Jesus turned the water into wine, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was privy to the embarrassing plight of the wedding host, who had run out of wine. Mary had never seen water turned into wine; thus she offered no recommendations to Christ on how to remedy the problem. She just came to Jesus and said, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). She interceded by telling her son, the Son of God, what her friend lacked. Then she walked away, leaving the entire dilemma with Him. Her part in assisting the host was to tell Jesus about it and leave it in His capable hands.

Teachability is essential. A learner is someone who is willing to unlearn what he should never have learned in order to learn what he should have learned in the first place! The incorrect prayer knowledge we have acquired must be abandoned before we can enroll as students in Christ’s school of prayer. Jesus is humble and meek. Those who come to Him in prayer must share His meek and teachable disposition.

Praying people are flexible. They have learned to hold their traditions and preferences without rigidity. Instead of attempting to make God compliant with their understanding and desires, they choose to acclimate themselves to God’s ways. They are willing to be taught. Praying people are moldable, or moveable. They read the Bible to learn new things, not just to reinforce their current comprehension. They pray with their understanding but are willing to have their existing understanding expanded.

Apollos (see Acts 18:24–28) was an incredible gospel communicator. He was well versed concerning Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. He accurately proclaimed that Christ was the sacrificial Lamb of God and Savior of mankind. But he had a hole in his theology: he was ignorant about the Holy Spirit. He humbly submitted himself to Aquila and Pricilla and allowed them to teach him the deeper things of God. Think about it—the great orator subjected himself to two business people, a man and his wife. His hunger for truth compelled him. His humility enabled him to learn new things. Apollos was teachable, so God sent Aquila and Priscilla to help him. A teachable person is a humble person.

If an anointed man like Apollos had more to learn, is it possible that God has more for us to learn? Are we hungry for more? Unless we are, we will end up with less than God intends. Unless we are teachable, we will read the Bible only to back up our beliefs. Is the sum total of truth wrapped up in what we have already experienced? Or does God want us to learn new truths?

The reason many churches are in decline is that they have no desire to learn anything new. How often has it been said, “If it’s new, it’s not true; and if it’s true, it’s not new.” Of course there is nothing new to God. But there is an ocean of truth awaiting those who are willing to learn. Countless congregations study the Scriptures through the lens of tradition, which blinds them from the illuminating work of the Spirit. The Bible must be read with childlike openness and eagerness.

When it comes to learning to pray individually and corporately, humility and hunger are the keys. God’s innate humility requires the same from those who would learn of Him. He invites us to learn of Him and from Him in this vital ministry of prayer.

To be teachable, we need to ask and act upon three important questions. All three questions apply to individuals, churches, ministries, pastors, leaders, men, women, and young people:

  • “Lord, what should I subtract?” (Then listen and obey.)
  • “Lord, what should I add?” (Then listen and obey.)
  • “Lord, what should I change?” (Then listen and obey.)

If we are unwilling to honestly inquire of God on these matters and immediately implement His answers, our effectiveness and fruitfulness will be over. Countless churches are in the death spiral of non-vitality. But asking these three questions, listening for God’s directives, and fully complying with His will are the gateway to a thriving prayer life. It takes courage to cast off the fear of man and obey God regardless of possible outcomes.

Adaptability is not only the key to survival; it is also of paramount importance for spiritual vitality. God’s ways and works vary from place to place according to the changing seasons. This is why the teachability protocol is so important. Yesterday ended last night; today is a new day. Instead of demanding that God conform to our expectations, we need to stay humble and teachable for the next part of our journeys.

Reflection

  1. A learner is someone who is willing to unlearn what he should never have learned in order to learn what he should have learned in the first place.
  2. Our teachability is more important than our ability. Only the humble and hungry will learn of and from Christ.
  3. Prayer is telling God what we lack. Intercession is telling God what other people lack.
  4. Adaptability and flexibility are keys to growth in our prayer lives.

Application

  1. Refuse to limit your future by remaining at your current level of understanding. Life in Christ is a lifelong pursuit.
  2. Unless you reach for more, you will end up with less than God’s best. Humbly ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to pray.
  3. Take the needed time to pray through these questions:
    • “Lord, what should I subtract?” (Then listen and obey.)
    • “Lord, what should I add?” (Then listen and obey.)
    • “Lord, what should I change?” (Then listen and obey.)
  4. Adamantly resist the tendency to rest in your own understanding. Keep reaching up to God with open heart and hands. Stay teachable.

Taken from “Approaching God‘s Throne: Biblical Protocols for Prayer”. CLICK HERE to order your copy TODAY!

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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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