When God sets out to teach, He chooses His students on the basis of their character—not on their intellectual abilities, academic degrees, or social standing. He looks for an inner attitude of the heart toward Himself, an attitude of reverent submission and respect. Furthermore, God sets the curriculum. He teaches such individuals “in the way that he [God] shall choose” (Psalm 25:12 kjv). Often, the way God chooses is not the way that we would choose for ourselves. We might incline toward themes of prophecy or revelation that seem profound, whereas God’s curriculum might focus on what is humble and down-to-earth: service, sacrifice, and faithfulness.
For those who submit to God’s instruction, there is a wonderful reward: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him” (Psalm 25:14 kjv). In human relationships, we share our secrets only with those whom we trust. Likewise, when God shares His secrets with us, it is proof that we have earned His trust. It is our certificate of graduation from His school.
This truth is illustrated beautifully in the relationship of Jesus to His disciples. After He had put them through three years of rigorous discipline, He told them, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 niv). First, Jesus Himself learned from the Father through perfect submission to Him. Then, Jesus, in turn, passed on all He had learned from the Father to those who submitted in like manner to Him.
God still chooses His students on this basis. Neither His requirements nor His curriculum have changed.