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November 21, 1992

Lifelong Learning

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Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. PROVERBS 19:27
We will never reach a point at which we know everything there is to know about life, about our spouses, about our professions, or about anything else. But we do sometimes run into the danger of thinking we know enough. Enough to get by. Enough to stay on course. Enough to maintain the status quo.
Not so, says Solomon. When we stop listening to instruction, we stray from the truth. That applies whether we’re talking about the truth of Scripture or the truth about the latest breakthroughs and thinking in our professions or industries.
The Hebrew word translated “stop” in this verse is “actually a rhetorical device designed to say just the opposite, ‘do not stop learning.'” In other words, learning is an ongoing, intentional discipline. We might grow tired of studying and reading, but Solomon’s admonition is for our own good. After all, “constant energy is needed to resist ignorance and all its associated vices.”13
How do you respond when your boss sends around a memo outlining the required continuing education classes for the year? Do you grumble and moan, or do you look at it as an opportunity to stretch yourself and expand your horizons? What about when you’re given a list of supplemental reading materials in your Bible study class at church? Do you promptly throw it away, or do you try to locate the books and spend a little time each week absorbing the information?
Don’t settle for the status quo. Don’t stop developing the brain God gave you. The more you learn, the more you’ll discover that you don’t know. But that’s OK. That will keep you from getting a big head about all your newfound knowledge.

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