teach them to obey

“… and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.”

As I sat soaking up the the last minutes of lecture in Perspectives today, I almost didn’t hear these words, “We don’t teach to learn, we teach to obey.” My mind rewound and replayed and something clicked.

I don’t think obsessive is too strong a word to describe the fascination the West has with education. We are greedy about our learning. I’m smack dab in the thick of things, too. I want more in my brain, sometimes just so I can come up with something in conversation to trump the thing someone else said. It’s ugly, really. If you’ve ever seen that clip from Portlandia, it’s something like this and I’m not a bit proud of it.

We want knowledge because there’s something elite about it, something powerful.

and this was never how God intended knowledge

It was not a bad thing for Adam and Eve to know things about the Lord, about the garden, about their place in it. In fact, It delighted God for humans to grow in understanding because it produced praise – the lifestyle kind – where their knowledge resulted in actions full of love. The more they knew of God, the more they wanted to know of Him and please Him. We all know that came to a bad end, but it’s important to remember that our pursuit of knowledge hasn’t always been bittersweet. It was once only beautiful.

“… and teach them to obey all that I commanded you.” These are Jesus’ well-known words from Matthew 28. He is not asking the disciples to go out and form institutions where they teach people to learn. Learning for the sake of learning is a lame movement. The only thing contagious about it is our own greed for more. Learning to obey means letting knowledge sink down deep where it won’t grow stale – where it turns into obedient actions full of love.

When we learn to obey, we know our Master in such a way that our greatest delight is to please Him. When we teach to obey we are teaching that following Christ means conforming to His image (not knowing about conforming to His image).

How dismal the Gospel would be if it was only about knowing. How glorious that, through our obedience, God sanctifies us. I don’t want to just learn the Gospel and I don’t want to teach others to just learn the Gospel.

I want to obey and teach others to obey, that God would be glorified and that our supreme delight would be in Him.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

6 thoughts on “teach them to obey

  1. Wow, you totally hit the nail on the head with this one, lady….there was just a conversation about this tonight…thanks for the confirmation through His Word! Wow and Amen

    1. Jenna! I’d love to hear what your conversation produced! God is serious about loving us and if we’re serious about loving Him it will always produce obedient acts of love. And THERE we find joy!

  2. This is great Caroline! I just preached a sermon yesterday on Cause / Action / Reaction; Jesus is the cause, knowledge is the action, and doing his will is the reaction. It comes from Colossians 1 where Paul says that he is excited about the church’s “faith and love that spring from hope (in Christ). Keeping your faith strong and your love sacrificial is a matter of being “filled with the knowledge of his will” (vs. 9-10) If you only hear about something but don’t KNOW it, then your faith is weak and you will not love as you should.
    Sorta like the ol Brian Regan…
    “when’s that baby due?”
    “what baby?”
    “huuuuhhhuuu”

    Acting without knowing…

    1. Aw, wish I could have heard that! I know this post was light on Scripture, but it’s in every passage. From the beginning, God has been about mission – about drawing His creation into right relationship with Him, which means obedience. There is no way around it and we wouldn’t want there to be… that’s where ALL the delight is! I also really like this article on Psalm 40: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/psalm-40-obedience-better-than-davids

  3. Pingback: Lovers | blogbyv

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