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Read the instruction manual

Read the instructions

My new vacuum cleaner taught me a Bible lesson. We had just purchased the complicated machine, featuring different brushes for different surfaces, multiple cleaning solutions for various needs, and a restoration process that would clean the appliance and prepare it for the next job. As I stood staring at all of the pieces and parts, I was a little overwhelmed. How did they all fit together? How could I be certain I was handling it correctly? I opened up the operator’s manual, and it hit me: We give no thought to reading the manufacturer’s instructions for our man-made machines, but we hesitate – perhaps even refuse – to read the manual our Creator wrote for us.

Isn’t that interesting? We didn’t create ourselves, God did. We didn’t choose our birth date, God did. We didn’t select our hair color, eye color, height, abilities, or body type. God did it all. Israel’s chosen king, David, describes our design perfectly in Psalm 139: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!” (v. 13-14a, New Living Translation).

God did indeed make us wonderfully complex, but not impossible to understand. In fact, just like the manufacturer of my vacuum provided me a manual to assure my appliance runs well, God’s Word teaches us how to live our optimal life! He wants us to open and read it. It is His love letter to us! “If you need wisdom,” James encourages us, “ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5, NLT).

But here is the one, beautiful difference between my vacuum manual and the Bible. The manual doesn’t tell me a thing about the manufacturer, only the machine. The Bible, on the other hand, not only shows me who I am and can be, but also tells me all about my Father. I learn about His plan, His design, His love for me, and His character. And why does God go to such great lengths to reveal Himself to us?

  • Because He created us in His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
    We were created by God to reflect the love and character of God to others.
  • Because He wants to be in relationship with us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
    We were created by God to be in an eternal, loving relationship with God.
  • Because He wants us to reciprocate His love and pass it along to others. “And He said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)
    A relationship with God fills us with His love and empowers us to share that love with others.
  • Because His word shows us the way. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2Timothy 3:16)
    Whatever the question, whatever the concern in this God-formed life, He shows us the way to wisdom through His Word.

I don’t share those thoughts simply from head knowledge, but from experience. Like King David, I have learned through my journey with God that His Word grounds me in truth. God’s Word uplifts me with His love and grace. God’s Word refocuses me on my steadfast Savior, when all around me is shifting sand. God’s Word corrects me when my heart has wandered. God’s Word is trustworthy.

The Bible guides me through all of life’s terrain. It teaches me about the One who cleanses me and shows me how to be clean. It restores me and reignites me for the work He has designed for me. So why would I search anywhere else for understanding? No one can write a better guide for life than the Creator Himself. Let us take Him at His Word!