Being Teachable

True disciples of the Master are teachable. In just a few words, Abraham gives us much insight into why he was so greatly blessed. He lived a life “desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God.”1 “Desiring to receive instructions” is more than a willingness to listen. When our desire to receive instruction is a greater force than our comfort in remaining as we are, we become teachable.

President Brigham Young taught our “first and foremost duty [is] to seek the Lord until we open the path of communication from God to our own soul.”2 Shortly after his death, the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared in a dream to Brigham Young and instructed him: “Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the Kingdom.”3

How do we ignite this power of divine instruction in our lives? First, we need to start with a willingness to be instructed. While many naturally hunger and thirst after righteousness, others may be compelled to be humble.4 Some of us, rather than follow instructions or change ourselves, would simply like to change the rules. Naaman certainly wanted to be rid of his leprous flesh but went away in a rage when told by the prophet’s messenger to simply wash seven times in the River Jordan. It was inconvenient, a little thing, and he felt that the rivers in his land were better than the Jordan. But his leprosy was cured as he listened to his servants, changed his mind, and did “according to the saying of the man of God.”5 He was dramatically shown that there was a prophet and a God in Israel. We too must realize that God has governing laws6 and that His wisdom is greater than our own. Even Moses observed, after seeing God’s majesty and workmanship, “Man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.”7

Second, we need to put ourselves into a proper frame of mind and heart. This comes by prayerful pondering and laboring in the Spirit.8 This labor is real labor. It includes the very active steps of seeking, hearkening, and studying the scriptures. When humbled and stripped of pride, our heart is softened and now we can focus on heavenly counsel and instruction. Lamoni’s father, the powerful Lamanite king, made just that change in focus, even prostrating himself to the earth, demonstrating his great commitment to know God. He declared, “I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.”

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