The practice of obedience to the words of Jesus strengthens faith in two ways. The first is that it increases one’s discernment of God’s will. As our Lord puts it, If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether [my] teaching is from God…Or again, If you abide in my word…you will know the truth…

Discernment of God’s will is something completely different from theoretical knowledge of God. Discernment is the spiritual outcome of obedience, not of study – unless the studying itself is a practice of obedience. Everywhere in the Christian life the rule is the same: like produces like. The practice of obedience is an activity of faith, and its progeny is greater faith: deeper, wider, higher, of eternity. No amount of study, however prodigious, can increase faith even one iota, unless that study is itself faithful.

A wise parent gives her child the keys to the car only once she is confident in the child’s ability to drive. Similarly God rewards discernment only to those who have proven they will make good use of it.

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