“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life.” (Proverbs 4:13)
Pretend you have invented something very special. It took a very long time for you to design, and it is very useful. Let’s say you call it a “Jillipy-Bop.” The Jillipy-Bop is so special and useful that all your friends tell you they want a Jillipy-Bop of their own! Your parents are so impressed with the Jillipy-Bop that they help you get your Jillipy-Bop patented, mass-produced, and marketed. A store in your hometown has agreed to sell your Jillipy-Bops, and you are now in business!
However, your Jillipy-Bops each come with some small parts that the buyer must put together before it works. You must put a set of instructions in every Jillipy-Bop box. You write up the instructions and ship out the boxed Jillipy-Bops. The instructions you wrote up are very simple, so you are sure that no one will have trouble putting your invention together if they follow the instructions.
But soon you receive a letter from a customer that has a problem with his Jillipy-Bop. “This thing doesn’t work!” the customer writes. “I want my money back!” This customer includes his name, address and telephone number, so your parents tell you that, as a businessman, it would be wise if you call and try to find out what happened.
Your first question is” “Was the Jillipy-Bop broken during shipment?” The answer: “Well, no.”
Your next question: “Were all the parts there?” The answer: “Yes, I guess so.”
Finally: “Were the instructions in your box?” The answer: “Yes, I guess so.”
“Did you read the instructions carefully before you tried to put your Jillipy-Bop together?”
There is a long silenceâ€¦so you decide to ask him again: “Did you read the instructions carefully before you put your Jillipy-Bop together?”
The answer, when it finally comes out, is spoken very quietly: “No. But I thought it looked easy enough that I could put it together myself. The instructions are still in the box.”
Your reply: “In order for it to work properly, you have to read and follow the instructions. When I hang up, read the instructions , take your Jillipy-Bop apart, and put it back together again. Then call me back and let me know if it works.”
Later the phone rings, and a much more cheerful voice tells you that after following the instructions, he put the Jillipy-Bop together. It is working perfectly now, and he thanks you.
You might think this is a silly story, but it illustrates something that happens every day in many believers’ lives. We get frustrated because it is hard for us to trust God or to respond rightly when we are in trouble. We get confused about what we ought to do or how we should handle a certain situation. And sometimes we call out to God and say, “Why isn’t this working? Why does this have to be so hard? I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I want to give up!”
The last place we seem to want to look is God’s Word–and yet it is our very best source for the wisdom we need! Our “instructions” from God are all in the Bible. If our Bibles go un-touched and un-read, we cannot expect to know what God says about “life” and “how to handle it.” We will go through life trying to figure it out on our own, without any clue what God is trying to teach us! God’s instructions are not all that difficult, if we will just be willing to follow them. He desires for us to be able to “put all the pieces together” for His glory and for our good.
Proverbs 23:12 says, “Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.” To “apply your heart” means to heed, or pay serious attention to. Are you paying attention to God’s Word?
God wants us to read and obey the instructions that He gives in His Word.
» Am I serious about reading God’s Word and “hearing” His instructions for life?
» Do I decide daily to obey God’s instructions for life?