Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
~ Psalm 25:4-5
As much as we might like to think otherwise, walking in God’s ways is not natural to us. A sweet Christlike spirit does not happen accidentally. A strong, trusting faith is not just for people “born with the right personality.” Growing in Christ, developing our trust, our hearts comes with great commitment and intention… and teaching.
We must be taught how to walk in God’s paths! How humbling it is to think that I cannot do this on my own (and that I need improvement)! And yet, how beautiful to think that I have the very best teacher: the Lord himself!
And he is a patient, loving teacher:
Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.
~ Psalm 119:124
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He deals with us mercifully even though we don’t deserve it. Our sins are forgiven and our hearts learn to trust Him. The more we know Him, the more we see that we are safe within his keeping. Paul, too, sets us an example of learning from the Lord:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:11-13
Paul speaks urgently, at the end of his life. Here he sits in prison, not bemoaning his health or his lack of worldly goods or persecution. He knows what is most important. He doesn’t care about the temporary stuff but rather what is real, what is faith driven, what is God given.
He has learned and he realizes the source of everything: “I can do all things” – how? Through him who strengthens me.
It wasn’t Paul’s great aptitude or talents but rather through the teacher who loved him enough to die for him. That same teacher loves us, teaches us, calls us to trust Him. May we be as willing a student as Paul and the psalmist.