1 John 2:27b “For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches you is true – it is not a lie.”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
We have all been frustrated when we wanted to do something but could not do it, because we did not have the skills or knowledge. I remember many years ago when my sister was teaching me how to drive a manual car. I was frustrated because I could not simultaneously release the clutch and press on the gas peddle. I kept accelerating too fast or too slowly, and the car kept stalling or jerking forward. My sister sighed heavily each time the process repeated itself. I was frustrated because I really wanted to learn how to drive!
Similarly, when we look at the word of God, we can feel frustrated at some of the instructions. I have read scriptures and thought “I can’t do that because I don’t know how to do it. I don’t even have the will, or desire!”. And when I try on my own, I end up failing.
I came across the above precious promises in John’s books. God knows I don’t know how to obey Him, so He promises that the Holy Spirit will teach me all I need to know. My assumption has been if I am born again, I ought to obey God’s commands naturally. But then I find obedience does not come naturally. I find that I don’t know how to love, how to obey, how to wait and so on. I need to be taught.
In the Psalms, the Psalmist requests the Lord to teach him different things about 17 times (ESV translation). We too can ask. Here are some of the things the Psalmist asked God to teach him:
- Ps 25:4: Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
- Ps 119:66: Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
- Ps 143:10: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Job in the midst of affliction, also asked God to teach him.
- Job 6:24: Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.
- Job 34:32: teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
The Lord taught the Thessalonian church to love each other.
- 1Thess 4:9: Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
What is it that you don’t know what do? Is it obedience in the area of the tongue, walking in purity, loving others, loving God, raising children, and so on? The Good News is we can ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. The Lord tells us to ask and we will receive. The Lord also promises that whatever we ask according to His will, we receive. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” 1 John 5:14.
I am asking the Holy Spirit to teach me how to abide in Christ. How to love everyone with a pure love, without using or manipulating them, or discarding them when they make mistakes. How to forgive and not keep a record of wrongs. How to honour God at my work place. How to be devoted to Jesus as a single woman, and how to wait on Him for my spouse. How to share the gospel. How to manage my time. How to be a blessing to the people around me. I am asking because I don’t know how to do these things, although the Lord asks me to do them in His Word. But He will teach me. And all the glory will go to Him.
What to do you need the Holy Spirit to teach you? The Lord promises He will teach us Everything we need to know. Just ask. And He is the best teacher. He knows our learning pace so He will not be impatient, He corrects when we misunderstand, and His teaching is true, leading to liberty, not bondage. He promises that He wants us to obey His commands, and His commands are not burdensome – 1 John 5:3.
“Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!” Psalm 119:12