Living and learning what ?

When people go to live abroad, most have the good intention of learning the language of their new home.

Most do not, however, do much about it. Good intentions, but little or no  motivation. Oh, they see the desirability, but they never regard it as so important as to put themselves out to do something concrete about it.

Then there are the people who do something. They are very keen to start with but then they discover the psychological cost of re-adjusting their own thinking. They like the way they already think and speak, and they don’t think that the pain and effort of changing their ways is worth it. Within weeks or months, they give up.

Then there are those who do begin to succeed. They do make some progress, but not really enough. The reason is that they are not prepared to make room in their lives.

Learning a new language requires immersion: changing your routines and daily habits. It means reading and listening in the new language to establish new patterns of understanding and behaviour. It means making time; it means making real changes in your lifestyle – reading newspapers and magazines; watching television; socialising more with native speakers of the new language, and less with with compatriots speaking your own language.

But most people don’t accept the need to do this. They prefer to live in expatriate colonies, mixing largely with expats, and keeping in touch with the  world via their native language via newscasts and newspapers “from home”.

A few do make all the changes needed, both in their lifestyle and habits. They change their mindset in order to accommodate and make the new language real in their lives. They understand the cost, both psychologically and in daily routine to adopt the new language and make it their own.

And that was the acid test for me, their tutor. Can they actually communicate in the new language – not just with other learners and their tutor, but with native speakers of the new language.

Until they get to the point of effective communication, speaking and listening in the new language with native speakers, then they have not attained their goal. A very practical and meaningful goal.

As the tutor, it was my job to help them. Help them –  not do it for them. They have to do it themselves. My role was to guide them: primarily give them the psychological clues they needed, not just the language tips and techniques. First and foremost the right ideas and the motivation to get them moving in the right direction.

Most would not take the vital practical steps needed. They were unwilling to change their mindset. And that was the biggest problem when trying to help them. Getting them to see and accept the real changes they needed to make for themselves.

So what is this vocational testimony about ?

Well, we have reached chapter 13 in Matthew’s Gospel and that chapter falls neatly into two main categories. The first 23 verses concern the psychology of following Christ; the rest of the chapter concerns the subject theologians call eschatology – the study of the ends times and final Judgement. That’s for next time.

This week concerns the psychology outlined in the first 23 verses. Hence the analogy I have rehearsed above in the first 500 or so words of this post.

Matthew 13, verses 1 to 23 is the famous parable of the Sower of the Seed of the Word of God.

Jesus describes there the mindset of those who hear his message. There are 4 types:

  • the hard hearted

  • the half hearted

  • the heavy hearted

  • the Whole hearted

And they resemble closely the four types of language student I have outlined above.

There are people who hear about Jesus with their ears, but are just not interested. They are the hard hearted.

There are those who hear the message and think Christianity is a great idea. They start off believing, but give up when they find that the psychological cost is too high: they  cannot, or will not, make the mental adjustment of standing up for what they think they believe when people start to mock or jeer or give them a hard time. They just cannot, or will not, get themselves to the other side of the psychological fence to see the world from Jesus perspective, and totally accept his teaching.

Then there are those who are prepared to make an adjustment; they can take the opposition. But they are not really prepared to give up living like other people – by which I mean living for self importance and self satisfaction instead of living to please their Saviour. They like this world and its ways too much to make the essential changes in their thinking and lifestyle to live as Christ would have them live.

They just don’t devote themselves psychologically and habitually to Jesus Christ because that will mean a complete lifestyle change. To live and think as Jesus taught, not as the Self Centred World about us thinks and lives [parties, discos, getting drunk, free sex etc].

But there are the few who do realise just what is required. They do realise that Jesus is right, and that living for self is wrong. They do then make the changes in their lives to accommodate living as God wants, not as the world expects.

They give time to reading the Bible. They give time to prayer. They associate with other believers to encourage each other to live as Jesus taught. They learnt to give up the ways of SELF.

They consciously learn to live by Christ’s teaching, and it shows in their lives – their speech, their habits, their activities, their attitudes. They learn a new “language” of living,  and they don’t yearn to live the self centred, self harming and irresponsible ways they lived before.

They pay the psychological price and they live the new life they are called to, consciously and deliberately, seeing Jesus Christ himself as their true reward, both now and in eternity.


Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: