Archive for December, 2015
The incarnation of the Son of God.
“We confess, therefore, that God has fulfilled the promise He made to the fathers by the mouth of His holy prophets1 when, at the time appointed by Him,2 He sent into the world His own only-begotten and eternal Son, who took the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men (Php 2:7). He truly assumed a real human nature with all its infirmities,3 without sin,4 for He was conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by the act of a man.5 He not only assumed human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, in order that He might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that He should assume both to save both.
Contrary to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of His mother, we therefore confess that Christ partook of the flesh and blood of the children (Heb 2:14). He is a fruit of the loins of David (Acts 2:30); born of the seed of David according to the flesh (Rom 1:3); a fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary (Lk 1:42); born of woman (Gal 4:4); a branch of David (Jer 33:15); a shoot from the stump of Jesse (Is 11:1); sprung from the tribe of Judah (Heb 7:14); descended from the Jews according to the flesh (Rom 9:5); of the seed of Abraham,6 since the Son was concerned with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, yet without sin (Heb 2:16-17, 4:15).
In this way He is in truth our Immanuel, that is, “God with us” (Mt 1:23).”
-Belgic Confession (1561), Article 18, The Incarnation of the Son of God
“There’s one characteristic that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in every walk of life: teachability.
Those who are teachable, and remain so, usually succeed. The unteachable usually fail. I’ve seen that in business, I’ve seen it in the ministry, I’ve seen it among students, and I’ve seen it in my children.
No matter how much talent and gifting we have, if we are, or become, unteachable, we will never reach anywhere near our full potential in our careers, our callings, or our relationships.
So what does unteachabilty look like?
- Doesn’t take notes, read books, or learn anything unless it’s the bare minimum or what’s essential for exam purposes.
- Doesn’t ask questions or attempt anything that might reveal ignorance or risk looking stupid.
- Doesn’t accept responsibility for failures but blames anyone and everyone else.
- Doesn’t seek or accept one-to-one personal guidance or mentoring from parents, teachers, pastors, elders, etc.
- Doesn’t listen, but talks, talks, talks about self, especially when with someone you could learn a lot from.
- Doesn’t take criticism or correction without resentment or retaliation.
- Resists moving out of personal comfort zones in work, study, ministry, or relationships, but always looks for the easy and familiar route.
- Doesn’t read, listen to, or learn anything that challenges existing presuppositions, practices, and prejudices.
In contrast, teachability means:
- You’re aware of the limitations of your own knowledge and abilities.
- You admit limitation, inability, and ignorance to others who can teach and help.
- You regularly ask for help, instruction, guidance, and advice (before the event, not after disaster strikes).
- You learn from anyone and everyone you can (the best educated pastor I know writes notes for his own benefit even when listening to a novice preacher).
- You listen to others carefully and patiently with a desire to learn from everyone.
- You’re prepared to move out of your comfort zone, try something different, make mistakes, look stupid, answer wrongly, etc.
- You don’t give up when you fail at something, but seek help, and try again and again until you get it right.
- You’re willing to change your views and practices when convincing evidence is presented to you, even if it means admitting you were wrong.
There’s another word for teachability.
-David Murray, The Christian Life.
“We were created to feast on glory. But we have sinned and fallen short of it (Romans 3:23). It has become unattainable. No wonder, then, that those made for the eternal are by nature discontented with the temporal. We try the broken cisterns, but their waters fail and mock us until, in God’s providence, we learn that there is “none but Christ….here is the blessed paradox: the moment you give in to Christ is the moment you begin to learn contentment.”