UCAN sharing: The Master’s Approved Student
Scripture: 2 Tim. 2:15
Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name. Ps. 86:11
Approved: to speak or think favorably of; pronounce or consider agreeable or good; judge favorably
A true teacher longs to have students that are eager to learn. Not only does this make their work easier but it also makes it fulfilling. Dedication and respect reflect an attitude of honor to the one you give it to. There is a powerful experience when you watch a gifted teacher lead a hungry student through a difficult subject and the student tries hard and gets it. Both the teacher and the student benefit as they gain far more than just temporal things. While Jesus was walking on earth he taught many. He was often addressed as Master or Rabbi, meaning teacher. When Nicodemus secretly went to visit Jesus at night, he addressed him in the highest manner he knew, Rabbi. Jesus certainly is this and so much more. His ability to guide our lives and change us to be more like him is unique. Nowhere can a person have so much devotion and love poured in to them all the while being led to an eternal blessing. But the relationship is determined not only by what God does but also how we choose to respond. Do we desire to be God’s eager and devoted student to learn His ways and gain His approval?
Ask any teacher with some experience and they will most likely be able to share some stories of about students who made their work difficult because they lacked interest in the subject being taught. There is nothing more challenging than having to sit through a class for fifty minutes with people who are physically there but mentally somewhere else. Teachers if they really want to teach but the students don’t want to learn can be become discouraged and feel burdened. This shows us that the relationship between a teacher and student requires that both desire to participate. This is not always the case.
There are many kinds of students and different kinds of responses to what is being taught. If you think back to your least favorite class in high school you may remember the feelings of boredom and longings to be doing something else. Did you ever sleep through a history or math class? The reasons for this kind of response can vary. Some students have issues and are hindered from receiving from the teacher. Others have attitudes that lead them to believe that what is being presented has little or no value to them. To see this take a look at your average high school science class and what you will most likely see are students who are their because they have to be there and they don’t see the importance in memorizing animal groups or understanding the quadratic equation. So for them it is an exercise in endurance. Many will just labor to get a passing grade and get on with life. If we approach Christ with an attitude other than love then we will likely become disinterested in his message. Our hearts will be entangled in other things.
Yet among the students are always a few who express interest and are willing to put forth the effort to learn. These students are the ones that benefit the most from the teacher’s efforts. In a class all the students receive the same lesson and have the same opportunity to make a decision to devote time and effort to learn but the difference is in the heart. When a person has a real heart for something they will naturally be committed and devoted to that cause. They will want to learn, do well and succeed because they identify themselves with what is being given.
16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matt. 20:16
Jesus came to show man how to live. He lived by the leading of the Holy Spirit in the same way any other person might do it. He walked by constant submission to God the Father and obedience. This makes Him the first fruit or the first one to do it and succeed. No matter what the trial was Jesus through his entire life remained totally obedient to the Father. If you remember Jesus’ trial in the wilderness, starving to death, satan tells Jesus to turn the stones to bread and eat (Matt.4:1-4). Jesus could have done it but he chose not to because God the Father never told him to do it. So Jesus the Lord of All suffered hunger to be obedient to The Father. Jesus did all this to show man that the life God offers can be gained if we are willing to wholeheartedly follow. Only by following can a person gain what Jesus gives. We won’t be nearly as successful as he was but we will learn if we have the heart to so. We will have the help of the Holy Spirit as our teacher.
Many people were drawn to Jesus because of what he did. Jesus was an amazing person to be around because he was constantly touching the lives of people and changing them. He healed the lame and blind and he raised the dead. He cast out evil spirits with authority. He engaged the hypocritical religious leaders of his day. So people came to Jesus looking for what they wanted but often failed to take to heart what Jesus was really teaching. On the Sermon on the Mount Jesus lays out the life for a true believer. This was the beginning of his ministry and here he is telling people that they must be meek, righteous and forgive their enemies. He set a completely new standard. Not the greatest marketing plan one has ever seen but Jesus wasn’t concerned about what man thinks, he was looking for the few who really see the life that God is offering.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matt. 5:6
The word of God presents to us people from many different backgrounds that made the decision to follow Jesus and devote their lives to learning from Him. Their lives serve as testimonies that God is real and what he has said is truth. From prostitutes to warriors to Kings to tax collectors God wants them all to come to him and follow. So it is not a matter of circumstances or education that determines how close to Christ we will be. We are as spiritual as we want to be because like the good student we have decided in our hearts that no matter how hard the journey may be we will give our all and learn from the Master. We have come to see the value and importance in living fully for Christ. When this decision is made it shows in how we live. Christ and being Christ-like become the highest priority because we our intimately connect to him. David often prayed that God would teach him how to live that he might gain the eternal. He like so many others David saw and lived what matters most.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
Take a moment now before the press of this world steals away the word and think about whether you are working to be approved by God. Are you spending time with Him and learning from Him (Matt. 11:28-29)? Do you long to be with Him? Do you desire to be spiritual and shine for Jesus here? We all must give account of how we lived here. We need to see that only by being diligent for God now can we stand rejoicing in God’s presence then. The world and our enemy will try to take this away from you with false promises and comforts that don’t last but if you choose you can start seeking depth with God and in the process He will reveal the glory to come. When a person sees that glory they are more than willing to learn from the Master on how to live.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18
God is looking for those who have a heart for Him. Will you seek Him to love and learn from Him?