READ: Song of Solomon 5, John 12, 1 Peter 1

SURPRISING TEACHERS

Obeying Makes Us Wise. “I have understood more than the ancients,” says the psalmist, “because I keep your precepts” (Psalm 119:100). It is not study that makes us spiritually smart. Some of the most theologically brilliant people are the least submitted to Jesus and thus the greatest fools of all. Wisdom is found within the confines of obedience. We learn what Jesus is like by doing what He tells us to do. The reverent knowledge of God (wisdom) is only fully apprehended through obedient service. God does not discount thinking, but thinking alone is not obedience. We don’t ponder our way to wisdom; we walk actively toward it, for obedience requires action and it is in obeying the thoughts of God that we understand them. We understand mercy by going and learning (doing it) what it means. If you want to be wise, start daily obeying what the Scripture tells you to do.

Glorying Makes Us Remember. John 12:16 states, “When Jesus was glorified, then they remembered.” The understanding of the disciples was limited until Jesus was glorified. Only after Jesus was exalted did the prophecies and Scriptures make sense. When we obey Jesus, we magnify Him, and when we magnify Jesus, the world and our place in it comes into focused perspective. Glorifying Jesus helps our minds to think clearly. When Jesus is preeminent, when we build a throne for Him through worship, there is an affect on our minds. When Jesus is not the center, our memories, processing, decisions, and reactions are not pristine–they are often unwise. When Jesus is glorified, we not only remember who He is (Lord of all, in full control), but we also see clearly who we are and what we must do or not do. When we don’t know what to do, therefore, we glorify Jesus. The glorification of Jesus has as a byproduct–the clearing of confusing fog from our minds and spirits. Glorifying Jesus makes us remember what we need to do.

Dying Makes Us Bear Fruit. When a grain of wheat dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24). The problem with Christians and their self-perception is that we think we are trees, not seeds. A tree must remain alive in order to produce fruit, as must most organic life. Seeds have to be buried and ruptured. We do not actually have the capacity to produce life, though life is contained in us. There is a fundamental difference between being the source of life and the bearer of it. Mary carried incarnate God in her she did not produce Him. We are carriers of incarnate God. We have no capacity to produce divine life, but it can be released from us if we are willing to die, willing to get out of the way, willing to have our husks torn that divine life emerge. It is the death of self, ambition, importance, and will that lead to the unleashing of God from within us. If we really want to see fruit, we must be willing to be hurt.

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