How many of us read the instructions...really? On anything?
I remember many years ago when I got my first ever computer - it came with two LARGE instruction manuals which my husband told me I was to read thoroughly before I even touched this new toy I had that was all set up on the desk and calling to me in seductive tones. Was I going to read those two BIG books? I don't think so! A heated exchange followed, which I won - sort of - but the point is, reading those two books, which might as well have been in Greek for all I understood of what I did read anyway, seemed like WAY TOO MUCH hard work, when what I really wanted to do was play! :-) I suffered for it! I deleted stuff I shouldn't have, had no idea how to retrieve anything, and took the long way around finding out how to do this or that. I struggled, and yes, I cried. But did I learn my lesson? Uhm...no! *bows head in shame* I'm still not good at reading the instructions.
Some instructions are just plain stupid! Have you noticed that? There's a well known kitchen cleaner on the market, which I won't name lest I get myself sued, but the commercial for this cleaner shows a woman using it to clean a rather filthy stove. This cleaner wipes away the grime in one easy sweep leaving a trail of sparkling clean behind it. It all looks so promising, until you read the instructions on the back of the bottle. The first one reads; "Clean surface thoroughly before use." Uhm...really?? Okay, but doesn't that sound a little contradictory to the products very purpose?
Imagine if that was how it had to be for us before we could come to God. "Clean up your act before presenting yourself before Me!" Oh boy, there would be no hope for any of us. I know in some areas of my life there is still a grimy mess. Oh, but I am so glad I didn't have to clean up first, before I invited Jesus in. He is a considerate and gentle resident and He cleans up for me. He's thrown out a lot of stuff that shouldn't be in His temple, and there is peace there now that was absent before.
Our Bibles, God's Love Letter to us, His Instruction Manual...what a gift that is, one which should be opened and used every day. I am blessed to have a Bible that once belonged to my Great-Great-Grandfather, gifted to him by a dear friend in 1877. It's a little Bible, what would today be termed 'pocket-sized', with a brass clasp and brass edging around the gold embossed covers. The pages are edged in gold and there are beautiful colourful pictures throughout. The Bible is falling apart! There are loose pages, some curled and worn at the edges. After showing it to a friend from church, he suggested to me that I could have it restored to it's former glory. But no! That former glory in no way compares to the exquisite beauty I see in it now, in its worn and well-read state. My G-G-Grandfather must have loved this Bible, and read it a LOT, and I love holding in my hands what remains of this man's faithful obedience to God.
Psalm 12:6 says; "And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times." If we adhere to God's Word we will not be led astray by false advertising and shifty instruction. We can also be assured it will never go out of date, because the instructions within apply as much today as they did when first penned. Hebrews 4:12a says; "For the word of God is living and active."
And Dear Reader, test everything you hear or read, even from other Christians, against the truth of God's Word, because THAT is one thing we can rely on fully, whereas people we cannot. I read something recently written by a Christian man that was so sadly wrong...very, very wrong! Go back to the Bible on everything, because God and His Word WILL NOT lead us astray.
Heavenly Father, Trustworthy God,
Thank You for the Bible, for Your Word and its instruction in our lives to make our way straight and easier. Thank You that in You we know we can always put our trust and faith...in a world so full of uncertainty, lies, deceptions, and abuse, it is a comfort and security to know that in You we can so fully and unabashedly trust. Lord, burden our hearts to go to Your Word and guidance every day, and through that Word, Lord, I ask that You reveal to us all You want us to known and learn. In Jesus' Mighty Name I ask these things, amen.