Learning how to obey is not like learning how to add two numbers together– easy peasy.
It’s more like learning a musical instrument. Have you ever heard a beginner learning to play a string instrument? It is painful. But they can’t learn without taking the instrument out of the case. They can’t get better before they get worse. And finally there is a point where, with practice, they sound less terrible each time. Eventually, they sound great. But it takes a lot of practice time to get that way and stay that way. Funny, we are often exasperated all too quickly when we must continually give the same lesson. [Aren’t you glad our heavenly Father gives us a different example to follow?] We imagine our children have learned nothing from our instruction. We look at a moment, instead of the trajectory. Of course, we should examine our teaching methods, and continually refine our approach as we meet each developmental challenge. It’s good to practice helping our children, trying to position ourselves on their team, and not on the other side. Sometimes we think we’ve arrived with a particular success, and we forget that success doesn’t mean perfection. Then when the child sins, we despair because we thought we’d not have to deal with that problem again.
And don’t WE learn to walk in the spirit by fits and starts?
Do not be weary in well doing! When my eyes stay too long on my own imperfections, I am not resting in the sufficiency of Christ. I put a burden on myself that God didn’t intend for me to bear (didn’t the Pharisees do that to others? I wonder if they put those burdens on themselves, too?)