Examine Yourself: Is Being Unteachable Hindering Your Spiritual Growth?

Deep spiritual growth requires a teachable spirit

Do you realize it’s possible to read the Bible every day, go to church every Sunday, listen to podcasts, and devour Christian books, but still not grow in your walk with God? You may be gaining more knowledge, but it’s the kind of knowledge that feeds pride, not spiritual maturity. Spiritual growth requires a teachable spirit. It requires humility and a willingness to take an honest look at yourself, recognizing when something in you doesn’t align with God’s image, and committing yourself to change.

Receiving feedback and correction

Being teachable means I am willing to receive honest feedback from other people and from the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” While this verse may be familiar to you, take a minute to pause and really meditate on what it’s saying. Scripture is not just meant for feel-good inspiration nor is it only useful for teaching information. It is useful for rebuking, correcting, and training. If that’s what it’s useful for, then I should expect to be rebuked, corrected, and trained! Those aren’t exactly “feel-good” words. But they are meant FOR our good. If you continue reading, the next verse goes on to say, “SO THAT the servant of God may be fully equipped for every good work.” So, if I allow myself to receive teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training, then I will be equipped for the work God has given me to do. Conversely, if I am not open to receiving those things, then I will not be fully equipped and the fruit I produce for God’s Kingdom will be minimal.

How teachable are you?

Being teachable isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. You may be teachable in certain areas and unteachable in other areas. For example, you may take direction on establishing spiritual disciplines, but when it comes to receiving feedback about how you talk to your husband you might get defensive. This may be a lordship issue for you, meaning that Christ is not ruling and reigning in that area of your life. Having a lordship issue doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unteachable. However, if you refuse to even consider your own sin and weakness, and do not make efforts to pray and change, then you probably are, in fact, unteachable.

What are some things that may keep you from being teachable?

Pride: Pride is what led to the fall of man. We crave power and control. In order for me to maintain a sense of power and control, I have to shut down any kind of negative feedback someone might give me.

Fear: Because of our pride, we fear being exposed. We fear what people will think of us. We fear people will not like us or that they will judge us. Fear can cause us to hide and/or to become defensive.

Unprocessed trauma: Trauma affects the way our brains are wired, and we develop certain defense mechanisms for survival. Defenses may include shutting down, becoming overly confrontational, and living in denial. While those defense mechanisms served an adaptive purpose at the time of the trauma, they no longer serve an adaptive purpose once the trauma is over. They become maladaptive. Seeking help from a professional counselor and allowing God to heal those areas of your life may help you become more teachable and will lead to much deeper spiritual growth.

Emotional immaturity: One aspect of emotional intelligence is being self-aware. This includes knowing what you’re feeling, understanding why you’re feeling it, and recognizing how it’s affecting your reactions to other people. Emotional immaturity will keep you stuck in both your spiritual growth and in your relational growth.

Living in unrepentant sin: Living in ongoing, intentional, unrepentant sin has a way of hardening us. It hardens our hearts, clouds our minds, and closes our eyes to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Speaking the truth in love

We need each other, Ladies. Not just for fellowship and encouragement, but for correction. We need to lovingly challenge each other. “An ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” (Proverbs 15:31) Do you see that? Reproof can be LIFE-giving! It can lead to freedom that you didn’t know was possible as God breaks the chains of sin in your life. But you have to be open and willing to receive it. So, examine yourself and see if there is any area in your life where you have been defensive and unteachable. Write it down, begin praying over it, and see what God does.