Peter Senge, in his book The Fifth Discipline, explains how companies struggle with learning “disabilities” that threaten their productivity. As I was reading about the strategies he suggests to help organizations and companies rid themselves of these barriers, I couldn’t help but think about congregations and pastors who also struggle with their own learning disabilities.
As followers of Christ, we are all learners. Recently, I heard one of our pastors make this statement in his Sunday sermon, “Life is a continual teaching moment when it come to faith.” How true! We must constantly learn from the Master Teacher. Jesus extended this invitation to everyone who would become His follower, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me. . .” (Matthew 11:29) He also promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to “teach you (us) all things.” (John 14:26).
Every learner has, to some degree, his or her own “learning disability.” The first step in overcoming a learning disability is awareness. My wife and I know from firsthand experience the challenge of overcoming learning disabilities. We both grew up with our own, and then we passed ours on to our youngest son. Until we recognized and identified the “disability,” progress was impossible.
When it comes to our learning as followers of Jesus, it is even more necessary to become aware of our “disabilities.” Jesus addressed one of the most common learning disabilities when He said, “You have heard that it was said . . . but I say unto you.” (Matthew 5:43-44) In a real sense of the word, our greatest “learning disability” is our “unlearning curve.” There is so much from our fallen nature, our self-centered culture, and our misdirected religious environment that must be unlearned. Forsaking all and following Him is the challenge.
In other words, our greatest challenge in learning to be a follower of Christ is our unlearning curve! Paul said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold all things are new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Turning loose of the past and letting go of the old, is perhaps the most difficult learning disability of all.
What is your learning disability when it comes to learning how to fully follow Christ? The writer of Hebrews said it like this, “Let us lay aside the weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and run with patience the race that is set before us.” What is it that keeps us from learning to follow Him?