Graduating From the School of Hard Knocks
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
From my days as a teacher, I remember the sinking feeling of being ignored. Glazed eyes, slumped postures and fidgety fingers signaled to me my students had tuned me out … again, and I knew we were about to face failures.
"But I didn’t know what to do on my homework," a child would exclaim.
"You never taught me this," I’d hear after handing out a bad test grade.
"Why didn’t you help me?" another tear-stained face would plead.
On one hand, I was sympathetic. I remembered being a child, sitting at school, wondering if the day would ever end. Other enticements — the sunshine outside, my new bike at home, my best friend whispering beside me — would capture my attention, and my teacher’s voice was drowned out by shinier thoughts.
Although I understood my students, my sympathies didn’t run very deep. I had taught them the material, and it was my passion to make the lessons as fun and interesting as possible. But I couldn’t make them learn. They ultimately had to choose to be good students in order to avoid the pain of failure.
Remembering my school days led me to ponder my own adult learning patterns. More often than not, I seem to learn from the school of hard knocks. Recently, I created drama among my friends when I felt the need to fix a problem that was none of my business. The pain of my mess rolled over and over in my heart until I cried out to God, "Lord, I feel beaten and bruised from my failures. Thank You for teaching me through them, but isn’t there an easier way?"
Immediately, today’s key verse came to mind. Our wise and kind Father gently reminded me of His infinitely better way. He’s given us His Word, the Bible, to instruct us so that we don’t have to stay continually in the classroom of pain and failure.
As I thought through the pain of my busybody ways, God used Scripture to show me how I could have avoided the situation. He brought I Thessalonians 4:11-12a to my memory. "… Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders …" (NIV).
God was using His Word to do exactly what was promised in our key verse, 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
His Word teaches us. God taught me to desire a quiet life instead of being embroiled in the drama around me.
His Word rebukes us. He showed me that I wasn’t minding my own business. Ouch!
His Word corrects us. Instead of being focused on others, I need to have my eyes fixed on my own calling and work.
His Word trains us in righteousness. As I live these lessons, they will keep me from repeating my mistakes, and I’ll represent Jesus well to those around me while avoiding the consequences of my own sin.
As God’s girls, let’s make it our desire to graduate from the school of hard knocks rather than staying permanently enrolled. I’d much rather learn from God’s Word than the painful consequences of my choices.
Knowing my flaws, I’m certain I’ll have more opportunities to learn from my mistakes, but I’ve embraced a new and improved pattern. Each day, I gaze intently into the face of my Teacher, give Him my full attention and trust Him to show me how to grow and change.
Lord, I’m willing to learn through my mistakes but I ask You to make my heart responsive to the teaching of Your Word. Show me where I need to change as I read Scripture each day, and help me to transform before I struggle and fail. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 22:29, "Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.’" (NIV)
Proverbs 2:6-7, "For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless." (NIV)
Join our next Online Bible Study of The Mended Heart by Suzie Eller launching June 22. Click here for more information.
If you’re looking to shift from the desire to change to the ability to change through Christ, Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places might be helpful for you.
Amy Carroll invites you to visit her blog today where you can get a free printable of Scriptures about God’s wisdom.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Which way have you most often learned — the school of hard knocks or the instruction of Scripture?
If you answered, "school of hard knocks," how do you think your life would change if you decided to graduate?
If you answered, "instruction of Scripture," pause now and thank God for His grace to learn hard lessons the best way.
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