Bible Ballistics: BBs #258 Have You Read The Instructions??
I had an interesting experience this week, we had taken our car in for regular service and waited for it to be done, when we were notified and paid for our service we went to the car and when I sat down in the driver’s seat it felt like I had hit the ground. I figured I just miss stepped getting in, so we took off on our way, but the further I drove the more I realized my seat was sitting on the floor (seemingly). I couldn’t even see out of my mirrors I was so low down in the car, so we turned around and went backing thinking they had broken my seat. Wellllllllllll, to our surprise when the technician came out to see what we needed and I told him something was wrong with my seat, he smiled and showed me that the lever for moving the back of the seat ‘up’ and ‘down’ would also lift the entire seat up and down by simply pumping it!!! Oh my—that was a part of the instructions that I had missed somewhere along the line!!! I had failed to understand the “instruction” book, in simply overlooking a function of that lever.
Well, we do the same thing in our lives. We don’t read the instruction manual. I don’t often us clichés, but I did hear one that fits with our focus for today, an acronym for “Bible” is: “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”! And that’s a pretty good description of what we should find in God’s Word!!! And not only “basic” instructions, but also all we need to live, and determine what God has for us—both to be and do.
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you
through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge
of him that hath called us
to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these
ye might be partakers
of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption
that is in the world through lust.” 1 Peter 1:2-4
Peter reminds us of all that we have “IN” Jesus, when we belong to Him through repentance and faith, the salvation that HIS blood shed on the cross bought for us. It’s that blood that cleanses us, but if we don’t dig into the Word, we will walk around unaware of what we have “IN” Jesus, and how we are to order our lives. While salvation is by grace-undeserved and unmerited favor of and from God—we have a part in living our lives in accord with our Savior, Master and Lord’s ‘instructions’.
know ye not
that your body
is the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you,
which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God
in your body,
and in your spirit,
which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
As one of my favorite Dennis Jernigan songs says, “I Belong To Jesus”!!! Paul reminds us that we are the “temple” of God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ Jesus who dwells within us and enables us to serve God and minister to others through God’s power, and His truth. But if I don’t know what God has said in His Word, I can be led astray; I can be unaware of what to do, or how to behave! What am I to do? I am to keep my eyes on Jesus and dig into His Word!
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
We can find confidence in the testimony of those who have gone before us (Reading Christian biographies is a great way to find this encouragement—Dietrich Bonheoffer, Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, Bill Wallace, William Carey to suggest just a few) and learn what courage looks like, as well as finding solace in the faithfulness of our God. In that courage and confidence we can march forward regardless of the obstacles, knowing our God is faithful, able and sufficient to any task HE calls us to. And we can learn more of the ‘instructions’—and see them in action.
We also need to feast on the Word of God, regularly, daily; and not just perusing it’s pages, but digging into the depths of its treasure.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
And “rightly dividing the word of truth” implies that there is a “wrong” way to approach and divide (or understand) scripture—we want to be one who deals with the Word with integrity and respect of the context. Always study any subject or passage within its larger context, and the context of the whole counsel of God (the whole Bible). And we can do that by continually asking the ‘5 W’s and the H’ as we read and study the Word. Ask those questions: who’s writing, who is receiving it, what is the subject, why is it written (does it tell you that), where are those involved, how does it relate to me, and what am I to learn from it? And the most important question, ‘When will I practice what I’m learning in my behavior and life?”
And I can also have confidence in the Word itself, I can depend on its trustworthiness—always!
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable
for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be
unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
When I study God’s Word it will “profit” me with truth, reprove what is wrong, show me how to correct the wrong, and help me learn to walk rightly before God (preventive maintenance). And in learning all these things, it will equip me to accomplish the good works and ministry that God is leading me into.
So have a great week, get in the Word, and don’t get caught like I did, being unaware of the “instructions”!