Three Levels of Learning


by Bill Burkett

There are three levels of learning that reaches from contact with factual information to the application of knowledge. When we are learning something it always takes these three successive levels of accomplishment before knowledge is reached. This threefold level of learning applies to any science, any field of academics and to any intellectual school of discipline. It also applies to Christians who are growing through applying the Scriptures to their life in the school of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge is not just knowing something, it’s something we want to know so we can DO something with our lives that will make us more effective and efficient, more useful and fulfilled; more complete and useful to God and man. The three levels of learning are, I Introduction; II Familiarization, and III application.

I Introduction: Meeting the fact for the first time. A good example for us to use as we consider the three levels of learning is a very choice topic taught by Jesus and the disciples and which I have found to be invaluable in everyday practical life BUT too often thought of as something impossible by many Christians/ Pastors and Bible teachers. Many have neglected this subject dismissing it as mysticism or akin to some Eastern religion. BUT, Scripture refers to this vital ability to control our thoughts many times through the bible. Some of you remember what I have said so many times in my writings and Bible teaching, that, To live right a man must first think right. I have chosen to use thought control as the subject to illustrate the three levels of learning. I have just introduced to you the term, thought control.

Thinking right comes before anything that IS right!

We have raked over hippies with university degrees now sitting on judge’s benches all over our nation who still think like hippies and have the values of hippies. The problem with the US judicial system is the way many of them THINK. That hippy generation of the sixties is now in their 60’s occupying professional and political offices with liberal anti- American pro-global governmentalism. Everything that has troubled history in the past had it’s beginning as a bad idea. Bad thinking always produces bad results.

The world government concept of building a central government to rule all people under one system of government is certainly not new! The Bible records the first man who had that idea and was thinking of uniting the world. His name was Nimrod. He established major cities in the ancient world and built the tower of Babel contradicting God’s commandment for men to replentish the earth. Nimrod’s idea of a central government resulted in the confusion of languages. (genesis 11:1-9). The world has been plagued with Attila’s and Hitler’s from Nimrod to the Antichrist whose one big problem was that their thinking was twisted in rebellion against the God of Heaven. That proved to be their undoing!

Jesus and the apostles give us many commandments about thought mastery. But we just do not get proper instruction on this vital subject in our churches today. Here are only a few of many Scriptures that command us to teach and practice the self mastery of the mind;

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8. Thought control equals mental health based on God’s therapy prescribed in His Word! Preachers would save themselves a lot of church problems if they could effectively teach the Biblical formula for thought control to God’s people under their charge.

Now, what have I just done? I have introduced you to the first level of learning. I have mentioned and given you good reason to learn how to control your thoughts and then cited scriptures commanding it and revealing it as an actual doctrine (teaching) of the Word of God. At this point I have introduced you to and made you aware of self thought control. You now have the knowledge that mind control is possible and that it’s a Scriptural commandment rooted in biblical authority. You have been introduced to some vital facts about Christian awareness to mind control but haven’t actually done anything more than learn a few facts about it to perhaps kindle your interest and create a hunger to have that ability. Your thinking of how this would effect your life if you could master it. Even though you have been introduced to thought control you have only a small knowledge and interest in it. It is only a knowledge of something you may not have been made aware of before.

II Familiarization: The next level of knowledge is difficult and is where many students in college fall away and many businessmen fail in new ventures. It is at this level also that many Christians give up and either start compromising, find an alternative kind of apostate Christianity to identify with that does not make any demands of discipleship. Familiarization is the period of becoming well acquainted with what you are new to. The process of becoming well acquainted with something new can be tedious and almost bring a person to tears in trying to master something, e.g., a new business or learning a second language. Many successful people have told us they almost gave up several times but bit their tongue, wiped the blood from their brow, and plunged in again and again before they made it! This is the second level of learning and perhaps the toughest because the process of familiarization has so many unknowns in it. But we have the Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us achieve the knowledge that Jesus offers us. We go to the Word and breathe a prayer for help and it comes. Slowly I am learning; slowly I am having more control over my thoughts by repeating the word of God that gives me a single focus and brings my thoughts into His presence.

I have several Scriptures I use that stop the carnal mind in its tracks! I will cover other secrets to Biblical mind control principles that give me the power of thought control. I will cover these in another discourse later. But here I want to say that as God’s children we do have the ability to think soberly. The grace of God teaches us to deny (say no) to ungodliness and worldly lusts and live SOBERLY (the right relationship with your own inner person by having control of your thoughts), RIGHTEOUSLY (a right relationship with others around you by having control over your bodily decisions), and GODLY (a right relationship with God by controlling your spirit and maintaining communion with the Lord). Note: sobriety, Gk aophronos from the root word aophron, of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses and (2) curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled. Thayers – in this present world. Titus 2:11-14. To accomplish thought control a Christian must follow Biblical instructions – and that takes effort sometimes especially at the start. As we pursue after knowledge our goal becomes more real and we begin to see our progress until it becomes easier and easier and then finally reach the point of a glorious spiritual breakthrough that might have been thought impossible to achieve at one time. This wonderful feeling of having achieved a spiritual goal that comes from practicing God’s presence is like a burst of light into a new golden day of life! Now we come to the second level of learning because we can now say, I have done it! I can do it! I will do it!

III Application: But we have still not achieved true knowledge after we have learned to do something. True knowledge is knowledge that we are putting to use by applying it to our everyday life experience. How many people know that giving the tithe is right, and they can do it! but they are no doing it. They are not applying what they know is true. They are not practicing what they know they should be doing. The have been introduced to the truth, they have even given their tithe in the past, but now they are not applying what they know to be true.

This point is made very well in the story of the prodigal (spendthrift) son. He was introduced to the truth at his Father’s house as a child. He became very familiar with the truth as he grew to be a young man. But his depravity rebelled against his Father’s teaching and as soon as he came of age he demanded that the fortune of the family be divided. His plan was to gather all that was his and venture into a far country and indulge himself in a sensual lifestyle. He was thinking wrong. He had lost control of his himself when he lost control of his senses, his power of rational thought. Carefully note the turning point in the prodigal’s life; And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. Verse 17 – And when he came to himself, that is, When he came to his senses, when he returned to a sound mind and sound thinking! he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! As soon as his thinking changed the whole direction of his life changed with that event! The prodigal did return home and his life was turned around when his thoughts were turned around! First he started thinking right and then he applied what he knew was true and right by making the long trek back to his Father in humility. That is APPLICATION, the highest level of knowledge, the applying of what we know and doing it! Luke 15:16-17.

Two simple words but they sound the deep of the fathomless knowledge in Christ … do it. Jesus said, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. That is application – the highest level of knowledge.

Transformation has become one of those words modern preachers won’t touch, and if they do they just talk circles around it or pervert it’s meaning leaving it raped and twisted and meaningless. They do this to such words as separation, holiness, restitution, consecration and sanctification. But Biblical transformation is a powerful word indicating a complete and radical change from bad to very good! Paul wrote to the Romans, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. It’s impossible to know the will of God by anyone who has not had their minds renewed first resulting in a transformed lifestyle.

Controlling your thoughts is not a big job for the Holy Ghost. He will lead the way if we simply yield ourselves to Him. You see, Christian, everything I achieve in Christ begins with having my thoughts under His control when I have been mentally transformed and filled with the desire to do those things that please Him. If you have given Him your heart then come back to the cross and give Him your brains! Then He’ll have all of you, your mind and heart, the two soul centers of self and Spirit control. True knowledge must BE USED BEFORE IT BECOMES KNOWLEDGE IN THE ULTIMATE SENSE! BBB

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