“But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another.” (1 Thes. 4.9)
The word that jumps out at me in this verse is theodidaktoi – the taught-by-God ones. Paul uses this term a few times both to refer to others and to himself. At first blush it can seem arrogant to call yourself a theodidaktos, suggesting that your knowledge comes directly from God. But then when you think about Paul using this word to describe others – people who have sat under his own teaching – you can begin to see the deep humility being expressed. Paul was not their teacher, God was their teacher. God used Paul for a time (like a professor uses a T.A.) but their education remained in God’s hands. In this verse, Paul is commending them for recognizing that and living into it.
You can also be one of the theodidaktoi. God will teach you, lead you, and guide you through a development process. God is already trying to do that with you now, but it goes so much better when you recognize it, learn to look for it, and lean into it. Like any other sort of schooling, there will be classes you enjoy and ones you don’t, but all are necessary and for your benefit. This week, reflect on ways you can more actively and intentionally pursue the education God is trying to give you. Ask the Holy Spirit for specific ways you can improve your ‘study habits.’ May what Paul said here of the Thessalonians also be said of us.