School days! For some it brings back good memories and for others they were the worst days of their life. But education is important because we need to learn to grow. And often it was the system that got in the way, as even Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” He is also quoted as saying, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
The system though can be improved dramatically by the quality and attention given by the teacher. The value of a great teacher cannot ever be underestimated as many can testify that they became the person they are from the instruction and example of a great teacher. In this scripture today we see the value of the greatest teacher of all…God.
People and Things Change
They say a leopard can’t change it’s spots. But every Christian knows that while this is true for leopards, it is not for men. When God is your teacher and we come to Him in obedience, we learn how to live a new life. The old ways we followed suddenly become fruitless and meaningless when we see the greater value of following Jesus.
What has this world got to offer man? Everything here is temporary, including the time allotted to each of us. But in Christ Jesus we have to offer and opportunity of eternity and a life free from sickness, disease, evil and stress. When we come to Him and seek His ways, we do change. In fact change is mandatory and it is not our doing, it is the work of the Holy Spirit.
We see that as we learn the ways of God we are transformed. Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) The transformation that comes from the Lord is the transformation of the mind and the spirit.
Taught by God
The purpose of all education is to prepare us for something. It provides skills and knowledge that enables us to do a new job, or function in some new way for the benefit of ourself and others. It is the same with the education from God.
The education we receive from God are the teachings of life. Not life in this world, but in preparation for the new life in the Spirit. We are learning how to live with God and to live at peace with the family of God. We are learning what pleases Him so that when the time comes and He rules this world, we can live with Him and live in peace.
We see in this section that Jesus showed, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” (Verse 45) In fact Jesus as the Son of God IS God and we are being taught by Him. What better teacher could we have than the one who created all things, as it says in John 1:3, “…all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
With God or Jesus as our teacher we do not have the problems of human teachers. God is not beset with the problems, emotions, attitudes and weaknesses of humanity so His teaching is perfect. Furthermore He teaches us at the pace we are able to learn. We receive what we need when we need ti and the Holy Spirit interprets the teachings in ways that we can understand.
But like earthly education we need to understand discipline. Some people think of discipline as a fearful thing. They look at discipline as something to be scared of, like getting a rap over the knuckles when you mess up.
Well that may have been the way with earthly teachers, and I remember times as a student getting the strap for mucking up at school. But the Lord’s discipline is quite different. In Hebrews 12:10 we see, “For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.”
Now while we may be punished and disciplined by the Lord when we do the wrong thing, it is for our benefit. We are being trained to distinguish between good and evil and to learn to live by what is right.
I prefer to think of discipline in this way. Discipline is not punishment forcing you to stay on the right path, but is the training that guides you and keeps you there. Besides, how can you be a disciple without discipline? The very name “disciple” screams the need for discipline as a requirement of our call.
We do not need to fear the discipline of the Lord for we are being trained by it so we can be disciples. We are learning how to live with Him. And his discipline is not harsh as men mete out discipline, but God is fair and will give us discipline appropriate to the situation. Our job is to learn from Him since God is the Teacher and we are His students and disciples.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Christine Rondeau)
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