Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance — (Proverbs 1:5)
We have all heard and perhaps used the phrase on occasion, “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.” I get it, we get set in our ways and are used to doing things the way we have for the past 5, 10, 15 years and beyond. However, I do believe at times even those who use this excuse wish it wasn’t the case. It can be exciting to learn new things, to try something different. From a spiritual standpoint, it is right and good to be learning, growing, and leaving old bad habits behind. As we begin a New Year, it might be helpful to be intentional about having a good attitude about learning.
Here are a few positive ways to approach learning:
1) Accept different approaches. When we are set in our ways we often look at a different approach as the wrong approach. However, that is not always the case, many times there are several ways to get the same results. When we vary our methods, we often find better and more efficient ways of doing things.
2) Learning keeps life exciting no matter our age. Learning often leads to new experiences. Many people like to travel to places they have read about. Others like to try new recipes they came across online.
3) Be open to learning from others. A willingness to listen and learn from someone gives them value and shows respect. The fact that there is a diversity of spiritual gifts among believers helps us realize we need to let others teach us and minister to us.
4) Look at constructive criticism as part of the learning process. We often react to criticism in negative ways, even if the motivation behind it was positive. Criticism is similar to discipline, the goal for both is growth.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. (Proverbs 19:20)
5) It is a privilege to learn from God. Think about it, our Creator invites us to learn of Him and know Him. We should be thankful for that opportunity and take advantage of it.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
Toward the end of my time in college, I remember coming to the conclusion that the most important thing I learned in college is that there is so much more to learn. Perhaps we should make 2022 the year of learning. A year where we are intentional in a pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom from God to appropriately apply the knowledge we learn from a variety of sources. It is good to be knowledgeable about what is going on in our world today, but we need Godly wisdom to know what to do with that knowledge. No matter our age or stage of life we never want to close the door on learning. Yes, I believe even old dogs can learn new tricks.