The Bare Soul - April 7, 2013
A Proper Education

Galatians 3:24 - Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Elementary school years were, for the most part, good years for me. I got along well with my teachers and fellow students and generally brought home good grades. My fifth grade teacher is the one who stands out as the one who had the most influence over my early education. This educator was a kind soul, yet had a firm hand. She loved teaching, it was clear. When I was in her class she was in the twilight of her life and had taught many years. There was a special affection that grew between Mrs. Spearman and I throughout that year. She knew that I loved her grandmotherly ways, and she returned my respect with special care of her own. I remember once I had written a poem about winter and sledding and she read it to the class with great emphasis and a smile that was evident when she read each line. She asked the class who they thought wrote the poem. Some said this one or that one. At the time, I was very shy and had not given any indication of my desire to write. They never guessed it was me until she told them so with affection in her voice. I was so proud of that moment, that this kind teacher would honor me in such a small way. Nearly fifty years later, I still remember that day and will always remember her with great love and admiration for taking the time and effort to validate me amongst my peers.

We may have someone in our past who made all the difference shaping our young lives. It may have been a teacher, a relative, or a close friend. Regardless, we are all tutored and shaped by those things around us. That is, what we allow to shape us. Whether we realize it or not, our upbringings, traditions, mores, and a myriad of other influences are why we are the person we have become today, at this very moment in time. For most of us, our parents and what they dictated became the major catalyst in building the character we possess. These were likely more than suggestions but they were the law for most of us. They were "you darn well better do it if you know what's good for you" commandments that, if we transgressed, meant some type of punishment that usually was not pleasant. I tried to avoid my parents displeasure along these lines as much as possible in my formative years. However, as previously implied, my educational disciplines fell off in conjunction with my rebellious attitudes at home. In my early teens, no longer did I care about listening to teachers, parents, or any type of authority. For many years after, I would suffer the consequences of this foolish behavior. However, even as our lead verse states, "the Law" was having its desired effect on me. The commandments of society, my parents, and most importantly God, were leading me to an end of myself and my eventual surrender to Christ. For without the Law showing me how far I had spiraled downward out of control, I would have never seen my great need for Jesus Christ. He is our benchmark regarding how far as lost sinners we have all fallen from grace.

Initial surrender to Jesus Christ is imperative to once again be restored to that grace that only He can give. However, surrender is not a one time event. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:31 that he surrendered to Christ daily, insisting on dying daily for His Lord. In this regard, I would pose this question: How teachable are we? Do we allow God's law to bring us to a place of understanding and surrender regarding our inability to save ourselves? The law will produce various responses. Three relevant to our lead verse are as follows:

  1. (1) We are doing pretty good compared to most people

  2. (2) We just need to try harder and do better, and

  3. (3) There is no way I can fulfill what God wants ... Lord, help me!

Of course, the most sensible response is number three. To the point where pride is alive in our old sin nature is the degree where we will deny we need God's help. As the Lord stated through Jeremiah, "they have turned their backs to me instead of their faces" (Jeremiah 32:33).

Education should be a life-long endeavor. I thank God for memories such as my fifth grade teacher and the loving tutor she will always be in my life. Through her kindness and love, I was able to see how learning is something to be embraced, not shunned. We all have earthly teachers that instruct us throughout our lives regarding life's lessons. However, there are some teachings that cannot be ignored, and these are God's commandments through His word. The psalmist tells us how the Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul (Psalm 19:7). We can either run from this great instructor, or embrace it and allow it to transfigure our lives. Beloved of the Lord, the only way we can receive proper education from God is to allow His "tutor" to instruct us. The gaze of the soul toward God's Law will only happen when we turn our face towards His and surrender to His direction.

Fairest Lord Jesus, thank you for sending Your great Law to tutor us. Thank you for showing us our great need regarding how far we have fallen from You. Allow us to embrace and love Your Law, for it truly does restore our souls and causes us to delight in the transformation of our beings into Your likeness. In Your precious Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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