The Cornerstone of the Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on May 29, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

The Cornerstone of the Teachable Spirit

The cornerstone of the teachable spirit rests upon the concept, “You are what you think.” James Allen states in the opening paragraph of his little book, As a Man Thinketh (1902),

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

Scripturally, this reference is taken from Proverbs 23:7,

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” –Proverbs 23:7

What exactly does this mean to the teachable spirit?

The teachable spirit can rejoice and be thrilled with this idea because of its simplicity. If thinking is the cause of all the results in your life, thinking can also change the results. Perhaps herein lies the crux of the matter. Do you believe that your thinking causes the results in your life? James Allen posits that,

Gorgeous flowers draped over the gate to the house where I stayed in Kenya, 2013.

Gorgeous flowers draped over the gate to the house where I stayed in Kenya, 2013.

“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seed of thought, and could not have appeared without them.” –James Allen

Is his point scriptural?

Thinking of seed in the literal sense, if orange seeds are planted, the farmer expects to grow orange trees. If rose seeds are planted, the gardener expects he will have a fine bush of roses. What would seeds be in the spiritual realm? In Genesis, we find two trees in the garden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. We can understand that the tree of life is Yeshua (Jesus) because He said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” –John 14:6.

It stands to follow then, that the seed of the tree of life is the Word of God because John 1:1 states,

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” –John 1:1

Originally uploaded by Max Straeten to Morguefile.com

Originally uploaded by Max Straeten to Morguefile.com

How does this seed get planted in order to bear fruit after its kind? Yeshua discusses this very idea with the disciples when they ask Him why He speaks in parables. Explaining that it fulfills prophecy, he quotes Isaiah 6:9-10,

“Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’”                                                                  –Matthew 13:14-15

Paul emphasizes this point when he says,

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” –Romans 10:17

We know that when we accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Lord of our life, we are accepting this truth in our life, and we see our lives change as a result. This is the foundation of our faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), the result of this seed being planted in our lives.

This would lead us to conclude that the Word of God is the seed of the tree of life. As we believe, it grows up and produces fruit in our life, which we know leads to eternal life because the fruit of the tree of life produces after its kind the same as a rose seed or orange seed produces after its kind.

What then is the seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Originally uploaded by Irish_Eyes to Morguefile.com

Originally uploaded by Irish_Eyes to Morguefile.com

It has to be something we hear because Paul said faith comes by hearing. If we hear the truth of God’s Word and accept it, we base our life on this concept or idea. Paul conceptualized the Word of God as sharper than a two-edged sword,

“…penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”

–Hebrews 4:12

The seed of the tree of life is truth, while the seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is based on the concept of division or deception mixed with truth, making it difficult to discern right from wrong; that is, both are an idea, a thought, a concept, or understanding that we come to, inspired by God or not, as the case may be (II Timothy 3:16).

How can we identify the difference between the seed of these two trees?

Originally uploaded by cooee to Morguefile.com

Originally uploaded by cooee to Morguefile.com

The simple answer is that we can observe the fruit; however, planting seed just to discover what may grow might not be the best method of cultivation. Evaluating the seed, which in this case is the thought or idea, would serve a far better purpose, subsequently yielding the harvest of righteousness that we desire. Identifying deception can only come through understanding and knowing the truth. Or, a better way to put it is that adhering to the truth reduces opportunity for deception or division. Training a teller requires handling real money so that counterfeit notes can be easily identified. Knowing the truth of scripture helps distinguish the counterfeit more easily.

What is the counterfeit?

At first blush, it might be easy to say that the opposite of the truth would be an outright lie. However, a total lie is easily spotted. Like I have always told my children, it is easy to choose between the good and bad; it is harder to choose between two seemingly good choices. Evaluating the seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we can clearly see that it is a mixture of truth and lie, twisted and perverted only slightly, just enough for the hearer to question. Once doubt enters, the seed, or thought, takes root; it multiplies of its own, becoming more and more difficult to distinguish the truth.

Rolling out a Torah scroll at Simchat Torah, the festival where Jews celebrate a completion of a year's cycle of readings, September 2013.

Rolling out a Torah scroll at Simchat Torah, the festival where Jews celebrate a completion of a year’s cycle of readings, September 2013.

The ultimate test of seed is the fruit that it bears. The Word of God is likened to a double edged sword, which is so sharp that it can differentiate between the thoughts and intentions of the heart. How exciting to know unequivocally that we can use the Word of God to cross reference ideas of other authors, and when we are satisfied that the ideas can be solidly based upon the Word of God, we can rest assured that this is the good seed of the tree of life, and can allow it to grow up and bear fruit in our lives, knowing it will reap a harvest after its kind.

Wearing a Chinese style top I made for my daughter, which now fits me! April 2014.

Wearing a Chinese style top I made for my daughter, which now fits me! April 2014.

This then, is the diligent work of the teachable spirit, to weed out the seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, planting the good seed of the tree of life, aligning our thoughts with scripture, and building a solid foundation to our thought process, so that we can deliberately become what we think in a healthy and progressive manner. From the evaluation and analysis of the teachable spirit, we can see that James Allen was correct in his statement,

“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” –James Allen

 

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