Can instruction manuals really be that difficult to understand?
I was stunned when I read the directions on how to use the instruction manual on a recent gift. They started with a stop sign, then advised me to read all of the instructions before proceeding.
There were arrows to determine which instruction was next, as if following the numbered instructions was not simple enough. The picture of tools needed really helped to locate that hard to identify screwdriver.
My wife teases me when I throw the instruction sheets aside during Christmas or after our children's birthday parties. I try to explain how the instructions are an insult to my male ego and sheer machoism, yet she insists on collecting the multi-folded, map-like papers and finding the right language out of the five given.
Then she watches me.
Few men can work under such pressure. The constant nodding and shaking of her head as my hand passes over the numerous bolts and washers and plastic whatcha-ma-call-its unwinds the very fibers of manhood. She is never convinced there are supposed to be spare parts left over.
While this practice is part of the macho-male code of small parts assembly, it is a disastrous approach to life. Yet many of us trudge through life without ever looking at our instruction manual: The Bible.
The sheer fact that we have the Bible is awesome. Beyond this wonderful instruction manual, He also provides an instructor – the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us in John 14:26, "But when the Father sends the Comforter in my name – and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit – He will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you."
Jesus made this promise to His disciples. He promised them, and us, a teacher. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us when learning God's instructions for our lives.
And with this perfect example, those manufacturers continue to send simplistic instruction manuals. Instead of insulting us with ridiculous pictures of our tools, send a teacher that can help hold those awkward parts and assist us in finding the right screw or bolt.
Ok… there is a huge difference between those silly instruction manuals from manufacturers and the Bible. If the Bible was as small as manufacturer's directions, it would never be big enough to handle our lives. Yet as complex as the Bible may seem, the Holy Spirit provides the basic instructions from God's Word that makes it applicable to each of us.
Some people claim the Bible is difficult to understand and does not apply to today's society. As we look at the problems in our lives, it is hard to believe people in historical Bible times could relate to our struggles.
We are unique. We are different. We are special. And we are kidding ourselves!
Yes, our lives are different, yet the circumstances remain the same.
The times are different, and the tools we use are advanced. We do not wear the same clothes. Our foods would seem strange to our great ancestors, but our challenges are the same. Our enemy is the same. And more important, our Lord in Heaven is the same.
The Bible tells us in John 14:6, "Jesus told them, I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me."
Jesus tells us He is the Truth and the Way. He also introduces the Teacher, the Holy Spirit. He tells us the Holy Spirit will "…teach us much." Our instruction is to learn from the Holy Spirit – to be students.
My wife might be on the right track about collecting those instruction manuals. Perhaps there is one we should keep in front of us… even us thick-headed males should recognize the need to avoid left over parts or missing pieces in our lives!
These are my words; if you disagree, just keep scrolling.
- Glenn Sasscer