CLERGY CORNER: Follow the instructions

Posted on 27 September 2018 by LeslieM

Most adults have likely felt the frustration of attempting to assemble something without following the instructions. A child’s toy, a bicycle or even a small appliance may seem easy to put together, but if there are extra pieces laying around afterwards or it doesn’t function properly, we must usually pull out the manual or instruction sheet to determine where we went wrong. In some cases, we may have to start all over again. Life is full of scenarios where we need the wisdom of guidance and directions. The doctor’s prescription outlines what medicine we should take, when we should take it, and in what amount. Traffic laws exist to help us navigate the roads and highways safely. Career-specific training enables us to effectively fulfill the expectations of the job and our employer.

Many people have wished that life came with an instruction manual. Couldn’t we all use a set of directions that guided our decision-making, helped us to avoid disaster, and positioned us for getting the best out of our relationships? There are all sorts of guides and manuals that offer tips for attaining success, making more money, solving relationship issues and so on. I would question if any of them could truly be considered a life-manual, however. That designation would have to be reserved for a set of instructions that speak to every area of life, not just one, two or a few. Thankfully, one does exist in the form of what we call the bible or God’s word.

Believers understand that the Scriptures reveal the principles and practices that govern our relationship with our Creator. He has communicated to us how He purposed that we should live, and what we can expect from Him. Often referred to as a covenant relationship, our interaction with God is outlined in the instructions, commands, practices and promises of the bible.

The blessings and benefits that He offers are given to us in return for our worship and obedience. That may sound archaic and bizarre to those who believe they can live according to their own way and get everything they want out of life. Reality has proven, however, that we need guidelines, directions and instructions on this journey. Too many people have come to ruin by attempting to do it their way, ignoring the guidance of God or others.

King Solomon long ago warned, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death(Proverbs 14:12 NASB).

The New Testament (covenant) offers guidance through the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. They show us how to honor God, live harmoniously with each other, and find fulfillment in life. Do you want to get along better with others? Try forgiveness (Matthew 6:14) and love (Matthew 5:44). Do you desire less stress in life? Trust God and stop worrying (Matthew 6:25). Does your marriage need help? Try mutual love and respect as God prescribes (Ephesians 5:33). Do you need to do a better job at managing the difficulties of life? Try viewing them as beneficial tests (James 1:2-3). Do you want to be a better leader? Live an exemplary life before those who follow you (1 Peter 5:3).

God’s word teaches us how to live humbly, compassionately, and faithfully. It speaks to us about proper ordering of our priorities and shows how we can govern our selfish desires. Its relevance is not just for preparation for the next life but in practical guidance for existing in this world. All of us will struggle to find peace, comfort and balance in life. We will all occasionally make mistakes and face obstacles. God’s word is there to assist us through all of life’s nuances guiding us to true fulfillment. We must learn to read it, trust it, practice it and apply it. We must simply choose to follow its instructions.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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