THE HOLY SPIRIT AS TEACHER
Jesus said (John chapters 14-16) that it was a good thing that he was going to die and go away to heaven, because he would then be able to send the Holy Spirit to live within us.(For a summary of these chapters see The Biblical Basis For the Indwelling Spirit.) This Indwelling Spirit would have many roles to play once He got here. One of His jobs would to become to us a teacher. Now, an unconverted person can learn from God; but only a person indwelt by this Spirit can know Him as their teacher. This Spirit will stay with the person, build a vocabulary in the person, direct the person, lead the person and bring multiple lessons to the person; all to teach the person. A Spirit living within us and talking to us and teaching us about life and death and about God.
This privilege of being God’s student and having His Spirit be our teacher does not unfold automatically. In many places we are told that learning takes something on our part. There are 2 things we must do in order to learn: we must seek for truth and we must obey what we learn. Seeking God is discussed elsewhere so we will concentrate here on obedience as a condition for learning. In many places we are told that only those that have ears can hear. We are told, in fact, how to get ears that can hear. For example in Proverbs chapter one we read where Wisdom is teaching how to hear: “Wisdom cries out in the street and speaks. She cries in the markets, and in the office buildings, throughout the city saying: ‘How long you simple ones will you love simplicity? How long will you scorners delight in your scorning, and you fools hate knowledge? Turn to me at my reproof and behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; and will make known my words to you.’”. We partly get to know the voice of the teacher within us as we obey what we are hearing.
So, for example, the Spirit within a man speaks to him and tells me not to look twice at attractive women, to avert the eyes and not look again. The Spirit convicts him that he “has eyes full of adultery”. If this reproof is obeyed and if that man stops satisfying the lust of his eyes then the teacher within will bring knowledge to the man. The secrets of God will be shared with the man as he becomes a friend of God. This is why James says to “lay aside all filthiness and incautious unholiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word”. If we receive the Holy Spirit with meekness and obey what He says we will be blessed with a rich knowledge of God and a transformed life.
We therefore must learn to listen to the teacher within us. The inward search, the waiting on God with ears that hear will transform us. Without this yielding on our part we will not progress in contemplation.