An A+++ in the School of Christ

Listening is key to Christianity. We already have an 'A' in the class of Christ we just need to learn to listen for the right answer in each situation.


An A+++ in the School of Christ

(part of an evening amongst the Saints……. “For Those Who Want an ‘A’ in the School of Christ”)

Tom: I was just realizing that we are babes in Christ. Our likeness to Christ at any given moment is minimal. We aren’t very much like Him! I have often thought about how in school, they would say, “You start off in this course with an ‘A’. If you don’t have an ‘A’ at the end of the course, it’s your own fault.” I think we feel that pressure in Christianity. “Okay, I’m a Christian now. I’m supposed to be perfect.” We come in with that “A” mentality. We’re supposed to be “A” students, so every time we don’t perform up to the “A” level, there’s a ton of guilt, as opposed to a Higher view of realizing that because of Jesus, we ARE “A” students. That’s how He approves us: we are “A” students. But in terms of what our lives are like, we’ve just come out of the world and we are, in fact, “F” students! So it’s that building process. It’s not an excuse; “I’m only human.” But it’s an initial assumption that I am not, at this moment, a lot like Jesus. Things are going to show up in me that aren’t like Jesus, and I shouldn’t be devastated when they come up. I should have a soft heart and learn how to adjust.

Paul: I would probably take the analogy a step further! We get an “A” anyway, regardless of what we do on the test—as long as we stay in class, as long as we don’t abandon Rabboni. If we stay close to Him, we’ll get His “A”. But it even goes beyond that. The mystery that was withheld for ages and generations and is now revealed is “Christ IN us”. The miracle is simply that Rabboni lives inside of us! Basically, then, we’re not being trained to know all the right answers. We’re being trained to LISTEN. When we don’t get the right answers, it is because we are not living in the fullness of the New Covenant, the new deal that the Living God made with mankind.

True, the test is in front of us and we already have an “A” on it. It’s already recorded in the Book as an “A” because of the Blood of Jesus. But now we have the “test” of life in front of us, anyway. We’re trying to answer the questions. When we can’t answer the “question” (we don’t know how to make a decision, or we fail in some area of our life), it is because we’re distracted, or we aren’t looking for Him, or we’re just thinking about our own problems, or repeating old habits. “This is what I always answer on this.” Or I’m looking around and I’m trying to cheat by looking on somebody else’s paper. I’m man-pleasing, or conforming to pleasure or worldly priorities. Or I’m wondering what people are thinking of me right now, or wondering how I’m going to do on this test, which is introspection or self-love or pride. Get rid of all that junk and just listen to the One Who Lives inside of every True Believer! Every time, I’ll hear, “The answer to number two, Paul, is…The answer to number three, Paul, is…” So I can actually answer every “question” or challenge of life if I can learn how to listen.

That’s the nature of “Christ in us, THE hope of Glory.” He promised that He would cause us to keep His commands and decrees. He would not just tell us what His commands were, and then forgive us for our failures. He said He would actually CAUSE us to keep His commands and decrees. And if we didn’t do anything we didn’t see Him doing, and didn’t say anything we didn’t hear Him saying (as we read so often in the Book of John), we would never sin. But the reason we don’t do that, and the reason we do sin and put the wrong answers down, is because we’re not looking to see what He is doing. We’re distracted. We’re not listening to hear what He’s saying-we’re distracted. Old habits, old situations, old man junk coming out, causes us to not listen to what the answers are. It keeps us from getting His 100%—not only the score in the Book, but also the Right answers on the page, for real! To actually be living in His Character and to be like Him is a test in listening. It is a test in abandoning all of the things that distract, and then letting Him function through us to put the right answers on the page.

So really, when I don’t get all the “right answers,” I know that it is because I’m listening to the old man who competes for my attention. I just know that the failure is in my inability or unwillingness to listen. That is the New Deal that God made with man. “As many as are led by the Spirit are sons of God.” “If, by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body…” The test of true Christianity, functionally, isn’t the ability to be strong. It’s the ability to listen and submit and not be distracted by the smoke of the world and our own flesh.

Tom: Shar and I were talking about pride this morning. The verse that we talked about was the one where Jesus said, “If I speak on my own, then I would be doing so for my own glory. But I speak what He gives me to speak.” That is, basically, what He was saying. If I understand what you are saying, if we really are dependent on Him, then we really would have no temptation to be prideful, because we would have a keen sense that we’re depending on Him and not ourselves. But what about when I try to do the test on my own and get lucky and pick “C” and the right answer IS “C”? When I know that I was the one who picked “C” (versus listening to Him), then I’m tempted to be prideful. And when I pick “D” when the answer is “C,” then I’m tempted to despair, because I’m depending on myself. The pride man is right there ready to rise up!

Paul: And then our typical, predictable response is to try harder. “I’ll get it right next time!” Or we give up: “I just can’t do anything right,” rather than the New Deal response: “I need to learn how to listen better! He whispered the answer and I wasn’t listening. How ridiculous that I had the answer—He whispered it to me—but I just wasn’t listening! I got distracted and I was forced to have to do it myself.”

There’s always hope in that Way of Life! I may not be able to figure out the right answer, but if He is whispering the answer to me, surely I can learn how to listen better. The answer is there. He’ll “put His Spirit in us and cause us to keep His commands and decrees.” It’s not hard to keep His commands and decrees; they are not grievous. It’s not hard. That’s the nature of the new covenant. It’s just that we weren’t listening. We were preoccupied with self-life or our flesh, or some sort of habit, or lack of knowledge. God said, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” They just didn’t know these things that we’re talking about right now. They never knew anyone was whispering the right answer to them. So they strain to figure it out, and then they despair because they didn’t get it. Or they’re prideful because they did. They’re going through all this junk year after year, until they are finally hardened to failure. They figure that everyone around them is that way, too, so it must be okay—the Bible must just be idealistic. They don’t even know that the very nature of New Testament Christianity is that He is whispering the right answer 100% of the time. LISTENING is the key to Christianity in the rightful sense—not effort, striving, or any of those related things.

Tom: I think that goes back to what we first started talking about. Ultimately, what God is after is bringing glory to Himself, and not us performing correctly. If we’ll live that way, it shames the principalities and brings massive honor and glory to Him.

Paul: It’s just as simple as this: we are ACTUALLY the body of Christ, connected to the Head—receiving from Him the impulses and neuron fires that direct our course. We’re then in perfect harmony with every other part of the body, as well as with the Head.
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