Learning Something New? Gods Word Offers Encouragement
Four reminders from Scripture for moments of learning and growth
I stared down the man behind the counter, my eyes narrowed and my fist clutching my smartphone like a weapon. He noticed me standing there and, when I didn’t make a move toward him, beckoned me to the counter with a nod.
When I opened my mouth, a jumble of Bulgarian poured out. It was bad—so bad that even I didn’t know what I was trying to say. The man laughed.
“Very good try,” he said in perfect English. His smile and obvious fluency in at least two languages did little to make me feel like less of a linguistic failure. “What do you want to order?”
If you’re like me, learning something new is both a joy and a challenge. I loved learning Bulgarian while living in Bulgaria, just like I love learning how to use my digital camera or how to sing the harmony to one of my favorite hymns. But each of these activities takes time and energy, and there are many mistakes involved. The learning process is often fraught with difficulty and disappointment. Sometimes, you can’t even order a pastry in the language you’ve studied for the past six months.
So, what do you do when learning seems too hard?
THE BIBLE ENCOURAGES US IN MOMENTS OF LEARNING
God’s Word holds wisdom for our everyday lives, including moments of growth and learning. Whether you’re starting a new school year, beginning a new career, studying a new language, or trying a new hobby, you can find encouragement in the Bible. Here are four reminders for when you’re learning something new.
Learning is in our nature because God is our Creator.
God made us in his image. Even after sin entered the world, we retained our natural curiosity about God and his creation. The Bible tells us that “Intelligent people are always eager and ready to learn” (Proverbs 18:15 GNT). But it also says that true and
lasting knowledge flows out of a reverence for our Creator.
To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the LORD.
Proverbs 1:7 (GNT)
Mistakes are part of the process.
We know what the Bible says about sin. But did you ever stop to consider how sin affects learning? We need to learn, because—unlike God—we don’t know everything. But even our learning is plagued by our sinful nature. We get frustrated. We get lazy and put off studying or practicing. We use our newfound knowledge and skills for selfish reasons, even hurting other people. Sin touches every part of our lives, and we’re bound to make mistakes while we’re learning something new.
There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (GNT)
God is ready to help in moments of need.
While living in a new country, my grasp of Bulgarian was directly tied to my everyday life. There were countless moments when I stopped, frozen in fear: What if I miss my bus stop because I don’t understand the driver’s announcement? Or What if I’m too exhausted to go into this grocery store and read all the signs in Bulgarian? In those moments, I’d force myself to keep moving, remembering that God looks at us as his children and that he’s ready to help us.
As a father is kind to his children,
so the LORD is kind to those who honor him.
Psalm 103:13 (GNT)
We can glorify God through our diligence, curiosity, and learning.
The Bible tells us that “God created human beings, making them to be like himself” (Genesis 1:27a GNT). When we learn something new—whether it’s an instrument, a math equation, a language, or how to reupholster a chair—we have the opportunity to imitate his creativity and glorify our Creator.
Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for God’s glory.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (GNT)
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