Everyone remembers their favorite teacher. Likely it was someone who bathed us in unconditional love, believed in who we could become and, in the meantime, didn’t let us get away with anything!
I have been blessed with several favorite teachers, and all of them “had my number.” But the cream of the crop was probably Mr. Martin. He was my Latin and English teacher in the 9th grade. (By the by, I took four years of Latin in high school to get out of home economics. I REALLY did not want to sew those culottes!)
But Mr. Martin loved my work. He thought I was a creative and thoughtful writer. He loved having conversations with me in class. He occasionally assigned me different readings which made me feel special.
So, I thought that meant that I had special privileges. In particular, I thought that meant I did not have to do my homework, and he would happily let it slide. Well, I thought that until he gave me my first C in high school. After my dad demanded a conference with the principal, teacher and me, Mr. Martin’s expectations became very clear.
Mr. Martin may have been my favorite teacher. I may have been one of his favorites too. But I had to perform.
Recalling those memories helped me to process some of the message we heard on Sunday. Pastor Chris declared that “grace is our teacher.” And he went on to elaborate how grace can teach us to reject ungodliness, remove the lusts from our eyes and hearts, and help us to live soberly and righteously.
And while grace can and does underscore all those important aspects of growing in the Lord, it is important to remember that grace does not eliminate our part of the equation. In the middle of Paul’s letter to his young protégé Titus, the apostle underscored our responsibility with these words:
“… live self-controlled lives, upright and godly lives…while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:12-13)
I am so blessed to be living under the grace of our Savior. But that grace is not a license to ignore His claims on my life and behavior. We are still asked to live lives that are carefully controlled by the Spirit.
Even living under grace, we have to do our part in saying "no" to those things that detract from our focus on Godly pursuits. We have to reign in our appetites. We have to be a diligent master of ourselves.
We may indeed be “teacher’s pets,” but we still have to do the work!