Hello and welcome! This is the final post from the series: Lessons From My Masters Degree. For some context, please consider reading the first post: “When God has moved on but you haven’t”, the second post: “Fear of change prevents growth“, the third post: “An isolated Christian is a dangerous loose cannon” and the fourth post: “Discomfort always comes before growth”.
Let’s jump in!
Have you ever heard something but failed to listen to it? Read it again. Don’t let it confuse you. In that sentence, there are two types of listening: hearing and obedience. You heard something, you ought to have obeyed it, but you didn’t.
When we drive, we often hear the navigator but choose to follow our own instincts. When we get lost, who’s to blame? Obviously, not the navigator.
A lot of times during my masters, pride was an obstacle to my obedience. I thought after doing 3 years of undergraduate study, I officially knew it all. Because I was a newbie back then, I needed God for my coursework and exams back then, but I didn’t need Him now. I could figure it out all on my own. Why bother Him with such irrelevant issues?
The Holy Spirit seriously cautioned otherwise, but I didn’t listen.
When I submitted my first coursework and ended up scoring 63%, I knew something had gone horribly wrong. But pride reared its ugly head and began to rationalise. “For someone who joined nearly a month late, isn’t 63% a good grade? It’s alright, you’d have done better if you were in the class from the start!” Ah, okay. Maybe that’s the case, I thought to myself.
Imagine my shock when my next assessment came back with 60%. Wah, what was going on? Were the enemies in my village jealous that I was studying at KCL? Perhaps, I just needed to work harder. Cut down on TV series. Focus more. I was wrong. I kept on bagging 60s, 63s and 65s. I was in the middle of my final semester when the stupidity of my pride finally dawned on me.
I should have continued using the undergraduate formula.
Holy Spirit (90%) + My Due Diligence (10%) = An Excellent Result (100%).
By the time I realised my mistake, I had only two assessments left: Transnational Human Rights Litigation (THRL) and a dissertation for my International Investment Law practice module. Now, these two courses were as tough as nails.
Let me tell you a little bit about them.
For THRL, I had to write an Amicus Curiae Brief to the Trump administration, detailing why the Executive Order he made in January which banned people from a list of states was discriminatory, against the rule of law and not in favour of human rights. This was a gruelling process because I had to swiftly become familiar with U.S. constitutional law, which I’d never ever studied, as well as International Human Rights Law and processes.
For my dissertation, I had to submit a response to the European Commission’s public consultation document. This response had to explain to the commission my client’s position on 2 of the 12 areas of the TTIP Agreement – this was even more difficult, because I was dealing with a real government department (DEFRA) and even though I knew nothing about their work, I had to pretend that I did, familiarise myself with their affairs and think up issues that they would be affected by under this agreement.
Suffice to say, I would have run mad if I hadn’t run to the Holy Spirit. I threw away my pride and fell at His feet begging for mercy. And how merciful He was indeed! Most of my close friends at the time knew these modules were causing me sleepless nights. I was on the snapchat app lamenting daily. But glory to God, because these two modules were also the only ones where I scored a first class grade: 70% and 72% respectively!
Sometimes we need to go down to the wrong road to realise we’re on the wrong road.
Like the prodigal son, God sometimes lets us go down the wrong road so we can realise our mistakes willfully return to Him. I had to go down this road to be fully convinced that nothing will ever go right when I work without or go behind God. I’d always felt like academics were my strong suit, so I didn’t need God there, but He made me realise that all along, my excellence was because of Him. I’m not as brilliant as I thought and any “accolades” I won, were to showcase His glory. How easily I forgot because of my pride.
Thus the Lord humbled me, and it was for the best.
Finally, God’s ultimate promise is that He will be with us no matter what we are going through! He is not a fairweather friend who is only there in the joys of life but runs away in the sorrows. He wants to partner with us through every season of life, if only we humble ourselves and turn towards Him. Don’t let pride keep you from doing what is right. Pray to God to remove every obstacle of pride in your life no matter the cost.
I hope you’ve been blessed and edified through this series,
Grace & Peace!