Lifelong Learning


“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12

Some community colleges take as their motto, “Lifelong Learning Center,” or words to that effect. Their point is that further education is not for the eighteen- to twenty-four-year-old group alone, but for people of all ages who have a desire to learn.

My mother exemplified this. When she retired from a long career in the secretarial field at nearly seventy years of age, she fulfilled a long-held dream. She enrolled in the local community college to take a course in English Composition. Several times a week, she would board public transportation and ride to the college campus. At the end of the term, she received an “A” for her efforts. On the last day of class, the other students (mostly young people) gave her a round of applause. They realized that she was something special.

To be a truly successful Christian, we too must have the desire for lifelong learning. Whether we have been saved for just a short time or for many years, we need to be open to the voice of God. We need to desire learning what He wishes to teach us. He might speak to us as we read the Bible, as we listen to sermons, as we read religious literature, or even as we converse with a Christian friend. And there are many other avenues through which God could talk to us—if we are listening. Maybe we have always done something a certain way, but God would like us to make some changes. Our goal will not be attained until the day we arrive in Heaven. Until then, we need to keep striving for that goal by keeping ourselves sensitive to the gentle nudges that come our way to help us to grow in the Lord.

As we get older, we often hear the saying (spoken partly seriously, partly in jest) “You are only as old as you feel.” Our typical response to this is that “Some days we feel young, and some days rather old!” A better perspective on aging would be to say that we can remain forever young in spirit, as long as we retain a zest for listening and responding to the voice of God. Lifelong learners of Jesus are an encouragement to every other student, and they are sure to reach the goal of Heaven someday.