Choosing Cookies Over Cabbage

I wrote recently about surrendering the illusion that we are psychic and that we know the minds of others. I also suggested we give up thinking that others can read our minds.

Jesus seemed to suggest that we can come to a place of spiritual maturity where we no longer need to be psychic. “I don’t call you servants any longer,” he said, “because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead I call you friends because everything I have heard from God I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

It is a progression, of sorts. “I no longer call you servants” suggests that, at some point, we did what was right simply because that was what we were told to do. Eventually, though, we reach a level of maturity at which we understand and know what is God’s will and way, and we do it out of a place of covenant rather than out of a place of command.

There was a time when my daughters were young when I was happy if they simply did what they were told, even if they had no understanding of why. It almost always was for their own good, of course, but four-year-olds can’t understand nutrition and the need for strong bones. They just know cookies taste better than cabbage. Today, though, they must choose for themselves which they will eat. If they are like their father, they will choose cookies over cabbage too often, but at least they understand the difference.

Spiritually, most of us know much better than we do. We are not simply servants of God; we are daughters and sons. If only knowing that magically changed our behavior. We know God’s will for how to live, but knowing is not enough. Somehow, I suspect Jesus knew that was true because, despite calling us friends and not servants, the passage concludes with him saying, “I give you these commandments so that you can love each other” just in case we missed his point about the will and way of God.


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