Are You Teachable?

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How teachable are you? Find out using James MacDonald's 5-point teachability quiz.

A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.—Proverbs 17:10

I believe that God speaks to us through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. In the times of my life when I’ve needed some course correction, most often I’ve heard His Word coming through someone who cared enough and loved me enough to sit down with me and say, “There’s something you need to change.” 

Are you a teachable person? Proverbs 17:10 says, “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” In other words, you can get more ROI (Return on Investment) from a wise person in one gentle conversation than you can gain from a fool by whacking him with a board a hundred times. Which are you?

If you’re not sure how you rate on the teachability meter, take this five-point quiz:

1. I know I’m teachable when people give me input. When people feel free to give you a word of improvement, it’s a good sign that you’re teachable. Nobody wants to risk cleaning up a meltdown if the person can’t receive a difficult word. Don’t try to tell him he’s not headed in the right direction because he’ll bite your head off. The fool is always deeply persuaded that what he is doing is right. A teachable person will receive input.

2. I know I’m teachable when I see measurable growth and character development in myself. If you’re changing for the good, then you’re teachable. If you’re not the same person you were last year at this time, godly instruction has produced results in your life and there’s growth because of it.

3. I know I’m teachable when I don’t have to answer a critic with a defense. More often than I ever want to be, I’m in the uneasy position of giving people input. As hard as that is, I love to sit down with a person who can hear a difficult word with an open heart and without defensiveness. It’s been my repeated observation that those who are receptive to criticism flourish!

4. I know I’m teachable when I don’t have to criticize back. The classic symptom of an unteachable person is that they will listen to what you say, all the while framing their comeback, “Now let me tell you something . . .” Can you keep your defenses down and pride in check?

5. I know I’m teachable when I’m learning new ways to grow. If people have been telling you the same stuff for years, you’re not teachable. If you’ve grown out of those old issues and are now on to new lessons, you’re on the right track.

Are you teachable? Ask someone who knows you well for their honest evaluation. And take their response to heart. 

Journal:

  • What evidence of being teachable do I have?
  • Where is there room for improvement?

Prayer – Almighty Father, I can point to many times in my life where I have not been teachable. The worst part is, most of the time I don’t realize it because of my blind pride. Please forgive me for willfulness, Father, and continue to put people in my life that will rebuke me in love and keep me on the path You have chosen for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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