Please Read Carefully

Author: Katie Wickham

“Read these instructions carefully first”. What directive is almost always given before the start of a project? One of the ironies in life that I’m sure most people can relate to is that instead of following this first instruction, this is the first instruction we ignore. Maybe it’s because we are in such a hurry to begin, or perhaps we are just that sure of our abilities (real or imagined), or we believe instructions are merely suggestions to refer to when the going gets tough, that we don’t find value in taking this crucial step


Too many times however (probably more than we would ever admit to) we are left with extra bolts, and a lopsided bookcase standing before us. Or an engine that doesn’t run. Or a Pinterest fail. Undo stress follows and our garbage can might just have a new resident.


Bottom line? Instructions...are...good. More to the point, sound instruction is good.


Jesus said “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4 NIV


Paul wrote this of God’s word in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be equipped for every good work”


Every word...All scripture. Not just the parts that we like, not just the exciting stories of ordinary men slaying giants, or the verses taken out of context that we use to bolster our own worldview, but every word. If God declared it, our response should be one of attentive listener, and careful reader. And then application.


What happens when we don’t? You don’t have to look too far for your answer, simply turn on the news, look through a history book, or take a glance at your own community. Cults that pervert God’s word often to the great harm of those they’ve led astray, churches compromising their values to maintain the status quo, or we as individuals who fall into the trap of thinking we can simply get through this life alone, believing that instruction is for the weak or uninformed, only opening our bibles when disaster strikes or when we want to prove a point.


This incomplete instruction can often lead us to fall back into our old lives but convinces us that what we’re doing is alright because we read that one part, in that one verse we can’t recall, something about sin and stone throwing...and judging, wasn’t it?


To those, though, that have built their foundation on God’s word, great freedom and joy can be found. Led by God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and trusting in the salvation Christ gave them on the cross, these faithful people avidly devour every word, their foundation is built upon it. Like the church in Philadelphia who Christ said of “I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8b NIV) these faithful turn to God’s Word in times of trouble or sadness, in times of great joy, and in just the ordinary moments in their lives. They aren’t swayed by the newest doctrine, their foundation is deeply rooted.


We’ve seen them, teaching our classes on Sunday, with love spreading God’s message even if it means ridicule. These individuals Know the bible, it’s printed on their mind and hearts. They find peace in their circumstances, they rear up their children, the most vulnerable among us, with love and truth. That can only be done by READING THE INSTRUCTIONS.


God gave us his Word because he loves us, he left us instructions because He cares for our needs. Even when Adam and Eve were led astray, God still remained with them, instructing them, leading them through the difficulties that would now lay ahead. His word left a path that would lead us to Christ, and back to Him.


The cost of neglecting this foundational truth can lead to disaster, not only for us but for our families. Don’t let your bible collect dust or be merely a reference, open it up and read.


“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

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