3 Ways to Be Teachable

Do you know what it takes to have a teachable spirit? It’s one of those qualities to step into that will help us grow more spiritually mature.

Having a teachable spirit is one of those lessons that God made sure He brought to my attention years ago, and many times since, when my pride tried to take a foothold again.

What Does It Mean to Be Teachable?

According to dictionary.reference.com, teachable is an adjective which means capable of being taught, as a person.

If I’m going to be taught, then I need to be able to receive. Some of my most precious moments in life are when I am figuratively sitting at the feet of Jesus in His presence, with a yielded heart, and He talks to me.

I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have lived during the time Jesus walked the earth. Imagine for a minute one of the disciples…

A Teachable Disciple of Jesus

The rays of the sun were striking the dirt creating a glare in the path he walked. The disciple looked up, blinking his eyes. He had been so lost in his thoughts that he did not realize he was almost there. He was close enough now that he could see the great Teacher’s chest rise and fall as He spoke the words.

How does He pray with such…power?

He yearned for the way He could implore the Lord God! The disciple was trembling a little. He had decided to ask Him. He desired to learn from Him. 

The disciple stepped closer that he might be the first to secure His attention at the first moment when He finished praying. 

That very minute the opportunity was upon him. Jesus looked right at him, and he said, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 NKJV

I believe that disciple had a teachable heart!

Jesus may not be here on earth in the flesh right now, but there will be times we can learn from those around us.

3 Characteristics of Being Teachable

You open your heart to soak in whatever God wants you to learn.

Sometimes that can be done through simple observation. For example, younger kids will learn new skills faster just by observing their older siblings, a benefit a first born child doesn’t have.

To open your heart to Him, learn how to listen to God and be attentive to what He is wanting you to absorb. Receive from Him. The definition of receive is to take into one’s possession. Take whatever lesson He’s teaching you right into your heart and keep it for future reference.

So if you are going to be taught, you must:

  • observe
  • listen
  • receive

You lose the “I already know what you’re gonna say” mindset.

I’ve learned some of the most ripe ways to receive from another is through disagreements. (Wow, at times I feel like the disciple Peter because he often learned the hard way.) In the past, even as an adult, I remember having disagreements with one of my spiritual authorities.

In the midst of the conversation that person would start talking about a subject I “already knew about,” and I would miss their point entirely! I would be thinking, I’m an adult! I know about this! But God says you might “know” 9/10ths of the way, but I want you to learn the other 10th! Having the “I’ve already learned this” attitude is not a fruitful one!

You are willing to receive from the “wrong” person.

As ironic as it sounds, God set me up! He allowed the answer to a question I had been seeking Him about to come through a person that had “rubbed me the wrong way.” That day I learned that humility as a lot to do with being teachable. It’s easy to glean from a person you like. Decide you can receive from a person who you’re not likely to glean from or someone you dislike.

So pride is a roadblock to being teachable. For some posts on pride versus humility, see Days 21-28 from 40 Days of Daily Bread.

You cannot be prideful and teachable at the same time. —John C. Maxwell, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader

Bible Verses to Help You Cultivate a Teachable Spirit

Always start with the Word. These verses are great to pray, memorize, and meditate. The first verse goes along with the first characteristic above on having an open heart to God’s wisdom and ways:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

The next verse applies to the second attribute above on when we think we already have something figured out:

Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD, and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:7

The next verse is relevant to the third way to be teachable, when we’re willing to receive from others.

One who walks with wise men grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

Yielding to God

Can you see how all of this can happen easily if you are living yielded to God? That’s what this ministry is all about!

I want God to look at my heart, and see it yielded as a teachable disciple. It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind me to increase my teachableness any time it is lacking.

How can you apply being teachable in your life right now?

If I want to grow in Him, if I want to learn anything, I need to be teachable. #LiveYielded #ThrivingInChrist Share on X

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  1. Kelly, I just love your heart. This post was the balm my weary spirit needed today. Thank you for the timely reminder that I am teachable when I am willing to yield to His way & not my own. Oh, how I wish you & I could just sit in one another’s company and delight in His word together. I’ve gotta find a way to make that happen!

    1. Glad to know it helped! And yes, that would be a joy dear friend!

  2. Thanks so very much for this. I read this right on time.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      So glad to know it helped, Angelica!

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