Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.
To fear the Lord is to be taught of the Lord.
In fact, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
But this wisdom is so beyond human ken it must be supernatural. Therefore, only by imbibing the “spirit of the fear of the Lord” (Isa 11:2) will we be filled with the desire and the ability to learn His ways.
But how does the “spirit of the fear of the Lord” work?
The majesty of God
First, confronted by the majesty of God, my stubbornly held autonomy is broken and I inwardly bow.
In awe of Him I yield and lose myself in the divine embrace. Relinquishing to Him my very personhood He becomes my King and I his slave. My rebellion dissolves and I am given a new spirit – one that trembles at His word. And so, every futile attempt at self-salvation is relinquished. Laying aside my rights and my will, even in the face of injustice, I entrust myself to Him as a faithful Creator. And finally my broken and contrite heart becomes a sacrifice that is acceptable to God (see Psa 51).
Secondly, the spirit of the fear of the Lord flows through into teachable relationships, especially with those whom God sets in Christ’s body as spiritual overseers and shepherds of the flock.
If our hearts have been conquered by the fear of the Lord we will pursue wisdom and counsel. We will seek out teachable relationships with authentic men and women of God in whom we can confide. The habit of our lives will demonstrate the humility of heart that seeks out the wisdom of the wise.
As the wisdom writer declares,
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Whether we are wise or a fool is shown by whether we have heart relationship with spiritual teachers who are intimates of God. The wise are always teachable, seeking out the wisdom of the wise. Fools, on the other hand, are wise in their own eyes, preferring their own counsel. In fact, they scoff, making light of the teaching of the wise.
A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
The loss of the fear of the Lord and consequent refusal to engage in teachable relationships is the source of much demonic disorder in the body of Christ.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion (disorder) and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
James 3:13–17 NKJV
The anointing that teaches
Lastly, you may exclaim, “Aren’t I a priest of the new covenant, with direct access to Christ Himself? Why do I need relationship with spiritual teachers?”
The answer is, “Yes”, to the first question and, “Because you are proud”, to the second. The kingdom of God operates on laws of humility and interdependence. This is why the ecclesia functions as a body, each member connected and dependent on the other.
Even so, as John explains there is an anointing that teaches.
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
1 John 2:27 NAS
Clearly, the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher operating through human teachers who are given, according to Ephesians chapter four, as gifts to the body. Otherwise, John, as an apostle and teacher, would not be writing these very words.
If you have imbibed the spirit of the fear of the Lord and received those whom God sends as wise teachers the Holy Spirit will witness as to whether their words are true or not.
And so, the believer’s greatest ability is always their teachability.
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