"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding:
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV)
In many forms of study, the teachers will challenge and motivate their students to their greatest levels of understanding and achievement. Part of the process usually includes methods that make the student aware of his own limits and weaknesses. When the learner has done all he can do with his own abilities and understanding, he usually comes to the awareness that reason, effort, learning and human ability will only take him so far.
At that point, new ways of coping and knowing usually emerge. Faith, trust in God, Bible wisdom, experience, the importance of personal relationship with the truth it brings, and even intuition and disciplined feeling begin to play a part in the growth of the learner.
For many, when they get to the "end of their rope" or encounter situations which are simply too much for them, they come face to face with God's love, mercy, grace, and compassion. Reaching our personal limits teaches us humility, and humility allows us to remain open to further learning and saving growth.
As Jesus taught his disciples and the crowds of people who followed him, He too frequently asked tough questions, even riddles, which were almost impossible to answer. His tough love forced his followers and sometimes even the Pharisees to an awareness of their own shortcomings and limits. He wanted each person to continue to grow spiritually and to become the best each could be.
Paul likewise emphasized that human knowledge and wisdom was lacking compared with the wisdom and power of God. He frequently emphasized that we are saved by faith alone, but good works result because of our joy in salvation.
Like the disciples learned after the incident with the rich young man (Matthew 19: 25-26), we cannot save ourselves; we simply cannot earn our salvation. Salvation is only possible with God and with the saving sacrifice of Jesus.
What a joy it is to know that Jesus makes up the shortfall of our ability and that God's grace provides a way for us all to be "at home" with Him, eternally. What joy to know that eventually we will see "face to face" and that all we need to know and be will be fulfilled in His Kingdom.
Mary-Ellen Grisham is the editor of Eternal Ink, a bimonthly Christian ezine. She can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org