One of the greatest hindrances to our relationship with Jesus is not sin; it is independence from Jesus which allows us to sin. We like being our own boss, doing things the way we want to do them and we don't want to be told anything. Perhaps it is not exactly how we think but it is certainly how we act. Maybe we want to be dependent, to be directed and instructed but that somehow does not get translated into our actual thinking and acting. Remember, our first nature before coming to Jesus was rebellion and sometimes it is an easy thing in which to continue.
Sometimes we also get this notion that the Spirit is somehow just going to force our heart into obedience. We hear time and again that we fall short of the glory of God and that it is impossible for us to live the Law. We also hear that the Spirit empowers us to live in the righteousness of Jesus. This is all true but we keep forgetting about the heart matter. We have to desire to want to walk in the righteousness of Jesus. We have to desire to obey. We have to desire to pursue living like Jesus. He has told us he will give us the desire of our heart but that desire has to be correct; it has to be for him.
If we really want to grow in Jesus we need to have teachability. We have to be willing to admit we don't know as we ought to know, we don't do as we ought to do, and we don't think as we ought to think. We have so much to learn and the best place to start when we first come to Jesus is to set aside everything we thought we knew. We need humility in the Church so those of maturity can come alongside and help us to learn to be taught in prayer, in the Word, and by the Spirit. We can't grow if we refuse to learn.
King David was one who was always learning. He made many mistakes but he remained humble before the Lord so he could receive correction where needed. His attitude is summed up in Psalm 25:
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. (vv. 4-5)
Show me, teach me, lead me, should all be commonly repeated phrases in our prayers and in our hearts. But it is no good to say them unless they become part of the motivation of our heart and part of our determination to live. It should not surprise us when the Lord corrects us. It is a normal part of the "growing up" process of our relationship. We should desire correction and welcome it when it happens. We should expect to learn every time we open the Word or kneel in prayer. When we submit ourselves to the Lord we are doing so to grow.
The Lord has also called out trainers in the Body; teachers who are to train us in "good works", which is the beginning process of growing into the whole measure of the fullness of Jesus. We are told about it in Ephesians 4 where we find the process we are going through and how it requires a teachable spirit to participate. But many in the Church refuse instruction and isolate themselves from the Body which is a sin because it is contrary to the will of the Father. Our walk with Christ was never intended to be done in isolation but in community. However, such people demonstrate a lack of teachability and will never mature as the Lord intends.
I am almost 50 years old and have been a pastor for over twenty years and I am still being taught every day. I still go through times of breaking and reforming. I have daily moments of insight and inspiration that nullify incorrect thinking and brings me back in line with the Word. Every time I enter my prayer closest I expect to grow and indeed the Spirit teaches me. I still require the trainers to come alongside and provide guidance. It is not that I am spiritually immature, only that my journey is not yet complete. There is always more to learn. Learning is a good thing, a wonderful thing, a desirable thing. Let us remain humble and obedient so we may reach the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, together.