Obedience to our Teacher

Suppose your teacher begins the semester by saying, “You need to do as I say and learn the material or you will not pass.”  What your professor does not mean is that you should try to pass each exam by sheer willpower and determination, nor even through your own effort aided by encouraging words from the teacher.

What they expect is that you will submit to their instruction and enter the process of becoming more competent in the matter being taught. You will then be able to pass the exam by virtue of what you have internalized as a result of engaging the material under the direction of the trainer. Not by gritting your teeth during the test, but by working with the resources given to you by the instructor, day after day, long before it is time for the test.

In similar fashion, when Jesus says we need to obey His commands, He is not telling us to screw up our willpower to overrun our emotions so we can try to act as if we are better than we really are when things are hard. He is telling us we need to allow the Holy Spirit to become our Mentor in life, learning how to receive from Him what we do not yet possess. So that when the tests come, we will be able to respond out of who we have become rather than out of our best efforts to do what we think we are supposed to do at the time. Obedience is not so much about doing the right things, as it is an aspect of our relationship to God.

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