Reaching people and making them devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
GET A LIFE
What Do I Need to Learn?
(Video) Movie clip from the Sixth Sense. Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) said, “I see dead people… walking around like regular people… they only see what they want to see… they don’t know they’re dead.” Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) asked, “How often do you see them?” Cole replied, “All the time. They’re everywhere.” Later in the movie, Dr. Crowe will discover that he is one of the dead. That’s not only a movie. I see dead people all the time. Do you? Not ghosts, but Mark Twain said of someone, “He died at thirty; we buried him at sixty.” The dead people I see are people who have quit learning. They are waiting to die. Don’t discover later in the “movie of your life” that you are one of those “already dead” people. Get a life and keep it by intentional learning. So, today I want to deal with Part 1 of the fifth question of the series on Get a Life. Our topic today is What do I Need to Learn? Do you see or know some dead people? Probably more than you think. They are everywhere.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
One of the primary ways the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy life from us is by what we have not learned OR BY WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED. Many times, what we have learned steals life from us more than what we have not learned. Incorrect information, wrong attitudes, bad habits, problem emotions, etc steal life. So, WHAT DO I NEED TO LEARN to GET A LIFE?
1. LEARN TO UNLEARN. How many remember a time when you were trying to tell someone how to do something, but he or she would not listen? They were convinced they were right and you knew all the time they were wrong. Nonetheless, they would not listen. You thought, “You hard headed person!” Sure enough, they were wrong, but still did not want to admit they were wrong. They said something like, “But I thought this was how it worked.” How many know someone like that? How many of you are that someone? You just admitted that something you learned in your past was inaccurate or outdated information. It stopped you from experiencing success. We get something “in our heads” and refuse to change, costing us time, success, money, embarrassment, and it steals life from us. It’s the same thing in the “big picture” of life.
LIKE IT OR NOT, GETTING THE RESULTS YOU WANT FROM LIFE WILL REQUIRE UNLEARNING MANY THINGS. The faster you LEARN that, the faster you will GET A LIFE.
It’s easy to learn when using a “clean slate.” Think about a child learning to read. There are no preconceived ideas about reading. The child has no ideas about the dynamics and philosophy of reading. It’s a child with a clean/clear mind, wide open to learn. It’s like a huge computer hard drive with nothing on it. You can put any system (language) software and any program in there you want. There is all that available space to input new information.
However, as we age, learning becomes more difficult. Why? It seems like it would be easier, but we have all sorts of junk in our minds (hard-headed hard drives) – preconceived ideals, teachings, philosophies, convictions, etc. We loaded our hard drives with our own stuff – programs, images, HUGE video files, etc. Sometimes, the hard drive is damaged over time and refuses new information from being loaded. People get hurt and wounded in their spirits and allow nothing in there. Sometimes a hard drive becomes full of stuff and crashes the entire system. People crash when they get depressed with so much stuff going on in their minds. Sometimes one program conflicts with another program or even the system itself. The marriage program conflicts with the work program, or the financial program or the child-raising program. Sometimes, there is a problem with the connection to the network, or internet. People lose their connection with God. Sometimes an update will cause problems. Someone tells us something about something or someone and you crash. Or, maybe you got a virus – physically ill.
When these things happen in your computer, sometimes it is best to reformat (re-image) your hard drive and upgrade the system. Unfortunately, we can’t do that to our minds. I wish I could. How great it would be to say, “Load me with this operating system and these programs.” “Lay hands on me and cast that demon out and put that spirit in.” We have to do the next best thing – UNINSTALL, remove temp files, defrag, etc. I must realize that something in there is conflicting with my getting a life.
You must realize that if what you already knew worked, then you would already have the life you want. Admit you don’t know something you need to know and what is stopping you from acquiring what you need to learn is that old stuff in there. To learn new things, you must “unlearn” (erase – uninstall) some old things.
This is not to say that everything you have learned must go, but I guarantee you there are things you must unlearn. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO UNLEARN? Let me give you a few thoughts. This list is in no way concise or complete, but maybe you will get the point.
A. UNLEARN NEGATIVE ATTITUDES. That’s a great place to begin because it’s the very first point Jesus made about entering the kingdom of God (entering into the abundant life). We call them the beatitudes (Mat 5:3-11).
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
A paraphrase might be “Blessed are those with a clean hard drive (mind) for they will experience the kingdom and GET A LIFE. “Except you become as a little child…”
What are your foundational attitudes toward life? How can you get a quick glimpse of your foundational attitudes? If you will look at your attitudes toward the world, you will get insight into your foundational attitudes. Do you see the world as a great place or a place needing punishment and destruction? I had to unlearn that one. I once taught that God was going to destroy the world, but then I realized that God so loved the world that he gave Jesus to die for the same world that I thought he would destroy. That one unlearning process changed my life and attitudes concerning everything. Is the world full of opportunities or full of problems? Do different people with different skin colors and languages and cultures threaten you or intrigue you? Does the world hold great things ahead for you or only more problems and difficulties? Are you prejudice? What are your attitudes toward mercy for people who injured you? What is your attitude toward making peace with your enemies? What is your true attitude about hungering and thirsting for God? What foundational negative attitudes do you need to unlearn? Your true answers will reveal much about your foundational attitudes.
B. UNLEARN PROBLEM EMOTIONS. Often, we have carried problem emotional responses around all our lives. For example, anger. We laugh at movies and jokes about “anger management” but it’s not funny when you are forced to deal with unmanaged anger. I truly believe that had I not unlearned my emotional response to anger (still uninstalling that one), I would have totally failed at life.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
The problem emotional response to anger is sin – loss of control, rage, yelling, screaming, temper tantrums, profanity, violence, etc. Anger is a God-given emotion given to make you process. Today, I do not sin (at least not as I once did). It’s been a long time since anger controlled me. I am unlearning that problem emotional response.
Do you have problem emotional responses? How about a problem with fear? Do you fear failure, fear someone, or something? Do you have a problem with the emotion of anxiety? Does your blood pressure shoot up when you encounter situations? How about the emotion of hate? You must unlearn these things if you want to GET A LIFE. Realize the thief is stealing life from you through problem emotional responses?
The UNLEARNING list could go on and on. It could be something as seemingly simple as unlearning that you must inject your opinion into every situation. You need to learn to keep your mouth shut and that you do not have the solution to everyone’s problem. It could be unlearning your reactions to criticism. It could be unlearning some small or serious habits. It could be unlearning a false teaching. There is another unlearning that I think is major and I want to spend time on it.
C. UNLEARN NEGATIVE FAMILY ORIGIN. This is a big one. You pick up stuff from your families. Much of it before you can even talk. You felt love, or the lack of it, before you could say the word. You should have learned security and belonging and proper behavior from your family. You learned some good stuff from your family of origin. However, you also learned some not so good stuff. For example, if you struggle with anger (problem emotional responses), you can probably look back at family and find where you learned anger. If you struggle with finances, you can probably look back there and find where you learned it. Your initial world view or your initial view to vote democratic, republican, or independent most likely came because of what you learned from family. Abusive behavior and addictions can be a result of what you learned in your family origin. Many of the issues we battle our entire lives are because of what we learned in family origin.
Also, realize you will spend the rest of your life building upon or trying to get over what you learned from your family of origin. Don’t be too quick to point at your parents negatives. Your home will do the same thing. It’s how it’s supposed to work. Negatives will go on until somebody UNLEARNS them. Speaking about this and how things become gods and idols to us, God said…
Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of THEM THAT HATE ME, And shewing mercy unto thousands of THEM THAT LOVE ME AND KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.
I know that we are told that when we come to Jesus all those generational things just stop. So, let me ask you. Did they just stop when you came to Jesus, or did you need to take some action, as in unlearning some things and then learning God’s ways? You can stop them if you love God and keep his commandments, but negatives did not just go away. Somebody loved God enough to do it God’s way. Iniquities come down the pipe until somebody unlearns them. What iniquities are you allowing to continue to your children by your not unlearning?
People ask me if “generational curses” are real. Duuuuuuuuh! Of course, they are real. However, if you love God and keep his commandments, you do not have to put up with them. Until then, it goes on to the next generation. It’s supposed to work that way.
There is a man in the Bible who had to unlearn and learn nearly everything. He required a total re-imaging of his hard drive and a new highly updated operating system. We know him as the Apostle Paul, but he was originally Saul of Tarsus. He was a Pharisee and the son of generations of Pharisees. He learned the law and life according to his father, grandfather, etc. Saul had NEGATIVE FAMILY OF ORIGIN problems. Saul learned to hate and persecute Christ Followers. Saul had serious ATTITUDE PROBLEMS AND PROBLEM EMOTIONS with hate, anger, and prejudice. He learned that Christ Followers were heretics and members of a cult. However, one day Saul met Jesus on a road to Damascus and Saul learned he needed to re-image his mind and acquire an entirely new operating system. He learned he needed to UNLEARN. Christ followers were not a cult. Not only did he have to unlearn that, he had to unlearn and learn the truth of the kingdom of God. Paul had to learn that the kingdom was not something coming one day. If the Messiah (king) came, that meant the Messiah’s kingdom came.
Acts 28:31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Also, Saul learned that the Jews were not God’s special people. Because of Jesus, God loves all people the same.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Saul even unlearned what he learned about women. In those days, Pharisees prayed, “Thank you God that I am not a Gentile or a woman.” Actually, every area of what Saul learned over his life until he met Jesus, required unlearning. You will need to unlearn many things to fulfill your life’s purpose. Saul became a new creation, born again. Saul’s unlearning/learning process took a few years and required a system upgrade to Paul. His system/character changed. By unlearning, PAUL DISCOVERED HIS REASON FOR BEING ON THE PLANET. Many people never discover why they are on the planet because they refuse to unlearn. Paul is the greatest of all apostles. Most of the New Testament is because Paul UNLEARNED. We would not have the New Testament as we now know it had not Paul unlearned some teachings.
I think I can make this applicable to most of us adult members at Life Gate, let’s say over twenty-five years old, since Life Gate is only a little over twenty years old. Most of you adults could have said, “I am a Baptist [Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, whatever]. My parents [family of origin] were Baptist. My grandparents were Baptist. So, bless God, I will always be a Baptist. Don’t mess with my attitudes. Don’t mess with my problem emotions. I like me just like I am.” However, here you are. What happened? You wanted more – more understanding about scriptures, about life, about God, etc and felt this was the place where you could “LEARN” more. You come every week and allow me to constantly challenge your attitudes, emotions, and thinking. Many of us (all if you hang around) have been forced to unlearn so we could learn. Am I accurate? What makes us sad now is that others will not break loose and learn with us. Take that same principle and apply it to every area of your life. If you will, you will GET A LIFE. You will never GET A LIFE until you come to Jesus and learn to UNLEARN.