LEARN, UNLEARN, AND RELEARN
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 and in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”Mathew 15: 7-9
Alvin Toffler, in his book, Power shift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century wrote, “The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Alvin’s definition of an illiterate seems very different from the norm, after all we know or rather have been taught to believe that an illiterate is one who is uneducated or untrained, one who cannot read and write. Alvin Toffler reference to a time frame – the 21st century in his definition stimulates the need to examine his definition. The 21st century is considered an information or knowledge age, an age where everyone is expected to be able to read and write, so it’s expected that those who cannot read or write will be nonexistent. In other words, there will be a new definition of an illiterate in the 21st century. Those to be considered illiterates will be those who holds on to what they already know (tradition) and are unwilling to let go what they had knew in the past (unlearn) in other to learn new things or challenge some of those things that they had knew or learnt (relearn).
Reflecting on Alvin Toffler definition of an illiterate from a Pastor’s point of view, it is obvious that the spiritually illiterate of the 21st century are not those who cannot read the bible but those who lacks the understanding or a true revelation of the word. In other words, in these age and time of increased in knowledge (Daniel 12:4) only those with a Berean like attitude, those who know their God, men of spiritual understanding shall be able to stand and do exploits (Daniel 11:32, Mathew 13: 19, 23, Acts 17: 11-12).
A quick examination of the three important words in Alvin’s’ quotation.
Learn: This implies to study, or acquire knowledge or information about a thing.
Unlearn: This means to discard something learned especially an outdated information from one’s memory. It also means to bury, to stop remembering or to dismiss from the mind something previously learnt or an old knowledge. Unlearning is usually a difficult process as it require change, a movement away from tradition, dogmatism, and what is considered norm.
Relearn: Relearning can be more accurately described as refocused learning. A change in learning attitude and a desire to understand what the word means in the context of the now –revelation. It requires openness of heart and a willingness to embrace new knowledge, new insight and or revelation. Since we cannot “relearn” something we believe we already know, it is important that we discard what we believe we know and be open to new knowledge or revelation.
The strongest opposition to spiritual unlearning and relearning are traditions and doctrines. Many believers are yoked by traditions and church doctrine, which in turn has made the church powerless and void of spiritual revelation. Many are holding on to what could not save their fathers instead of letting it go in order to receive a higher power that can deliver them. Paul was a man clouded and blinded by the traditions and religions of the Pharisees that he was willing to die for it until he had an encounter with the truth on his way to Damascus Acts 9. His willingness to unlearn and relearn helped his conversion and translation from tradition to revelation. “And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:5-6 (NKJV) <>Paul had to unlearn all that he had learned in his Bible College and synagogues of men and then relearn the truth. His life never remain the same after that encounter.
Similarly, Apostle Peter was so engrossed in the traditions of the Jews separating the clean from the unclean until the voice of truth located his destiny in Acts 10 and translated him from doctrine and tradition to revelation knowing that whatever God has made clean is clean. The same applies to Elijah in 1Kings 19: 11-12. God took him out of tradition into the realm of revelation while standing on the mountain. Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice (NKJV). God revealed to him that He might have appeared in all these forms in time past as you have read in the books, but I am God and decides what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. He chose the still small voice at the time. This is why it is a dangerous thing to predict God or assumed that you know what he’s going to do. HE IS GOD. The word of God is always fresh, new, and directed to a specific course.
Many will rather die protecting and defending their church doctrine instead of being open minded to the truth of divine revelations. Whereas traditions and doctrines of men will hold us bound and caged, Revelation will set us free, move us forward, and prosper our lives. The Pharisees and the Sadducees (were expecting a messiah but did not know that he walketh amongst them . . . “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own[d] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name John 1: 10-12 (NKJV). The power of revelation is in understanding, for without spiritual understanding, a believer is fruitless, easily deceived, and prone to destruction.
Jesus told us in the parable of the sower that men without understanding are like the wayside seeds. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. And “he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. To emphasize the importance of this parable, Jesus told His disciples that understanding this parable is key to understanding other parables Mark 4:13 “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? Thus it could be said that spiritual understanding of the word of God is what makes the difference between a fruitful Christian and an unfruitful one.
‘Knowing’ something is not the same as ‘understanding’ something. You need to know about a subject in order to understand it, but mere knowledge is not enough. It is a prerequisite, but not a definition of understanding. Having a zeal for something does not also imply an understanding of the thing. Many could lay their life down for something without even understanding what it means (Romans 10: 2-3).To understand is ‘to comprehend’, and to comprehend is ‘to take in’ or embrace. Understanding is the ability to think and act with what one knows. It is the meaning or discernment that one may profitably apply to several or even many similar, but not necessarily identical, situations or processes. It is the ability to apply written and spoken word to one’s life.
Understanding help our fruitfulness because those with understanding will understand the distinction between the altar and the sacrifice, they will know also that by strength shall no man prevail and that they can do all things through Christ who provided the strength. They will know that they are gods, kings, priest and joint heirs with Christ. They understand that though they are in the world they are not of the world, and that they are saved for a purpose. Their understanding guide their thought and actions and helped their fruitfulness. Their life produces fruits and from the fruits come forth seed that are sown into the life of others. A Christian without understanding is like a blind man/woman Luke 24: 44-46, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Cor. 3: 14-15. The secret of becoming fruitful is in the power of understanding Ephesians 1: 15, Jeremiah 9:24, Proverbs 4:7. Understanding is the key to knowledge and a key holder to wisdom. Wisdom will fail without understanding Job 28: 12-end, proverbs 2: 11-12, 4:7. The wisdom of God will be meaningless to us without understanding Acts 8: 30-33. That is why Paul prayed, Ephesians 1: 17-19.
Understanding makes a man fruitful, loving, caring, affectionate, kind, powerful, famous, and above all fulfilling. Understanding help our learning, unlearning, and relearning process. It help our dynamic movement from tradition or doctrines of men to divine revelation.
How do you achieve understanding?
- Be genuinely Born Again (You must truly repent of your sins and be determined to forsake them). The mercy Paul received is still available today. Paul said, Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting 1Timothy 1:16
- There must be a personal commitment to learn. Be like the Bereans Acts 17: 11-12, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2Peter 1:10, Jude 3
- Depend wholly on the Holy Spirit. He knows the heart of the father and reveals his will to us. Mathew 16:17, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 15:50, I John 5: 20
- Pray for the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding Ephesians 1: 17-19. Grace and peace comes to us through understanding 2Peter 1:2
- Be like the Bereans Acts 17: 11-12. Have a desire to know by asking questions. Paul said “what would you want me to do” Phillip asked the Ethiopian Eunuch “Understandeth what thou readeth”.
- O Lord open my eyes of understanding and deliver me from spiritual ignorance
- Ask the Lord for the spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in Jesus name.
- I shall not suffer spiritual embarrassment in Jesus name
- Spiritual ignorance, spiritual error and spiritual failure, my life is not your candidate die in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Pray Isaiah 11: 2-3