The Perfect Manual
When I first started teaching, I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I did…until the end of my first day with students! I realized pretty quickly I had much to learn. If it weren’t for the teacher manuals, I would have died on the vine. I know I am dating myself here, but state standards, grade level assessments, the internet, and Pinterest didn’t exist! My only resource was the teacher manual, and I followed it religiously.
Looking back now, I realize this was probably a gift. Having one main resource allowed me to stay focused. In addition, I didn’t just have to prepare lessons. I also had to study! I had forgotten so much content over the years. My teacher manuals kept me on time and on track.
Much has changed. Educators today know most manuals are flawed in some way or another. Teachers are always on the look out for ways to supplement their teaching resources. Seldom is one manual comprehensive enough to meet the needs of our students. Nevertheless, teacher manuals do provide direction and focus.
While our teacher manuals are not perfect, I am here to tell you we have a “life manual” that is. Think about it! The Bible is our perfect manual for life. It never gets updated, and it has no errors. The Bible provides direction for every aspect of our life and answers for every question we have. However, please note this word of warning. The Bible doesn’t work for nonbelievers. You see, without the Holy Spirit, God’s Word doesn’t make sense, and the only way to obtain the Holy Spirit is through a relationship with Christ.
People who do not have God’s Spirit do not accept the things that come from his Spirit. They think these things are foolish. They cannot understand them, because they can only be understood with the Spirit’s help. 1 Corinthians 2:14
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:39
I’m sure we can all agree it is important to have a guide or manual when it comes to teaching. How much more important is this for our personal lives? I wonder how many of us try to navigate through life in trial-and-error mode. I liken this to getting in a car to go on vacation with no destination and no map. None of us would do that. So why in the world do we try and walk through this life that God has given us with little or no direction, especially when the guidance is right at our fingertips?!
I have to admit there are many resources available to help people deal with life’s issues. Some are quite valuable; they provide great spiritual insight. However, some resources are distracting. They seek to convince people there are better options available. Whatever the resource, it should never replace or supersede our perfect manual—God’s Word.
As I was preparing for my women’s book study group this week, I was confronted by the Holy Spirit with some hard questions. I think these are questions all of us have to ask ourselves, maybe several times throughout the year, the month, the week, or even the day! Consider these questions.
· Do I really believe that the Word of God, the entire Word of God, is absolute truth?
· Do I believe God’s Word was penned by men but written by God through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit?
· Do I believe God‘s Word enough to obey it?
· Do I know God’s Word?
· Do I spend as much time in God’s Word as I do on social media? Watching TV? Leisure time activities?
· Do I truly seek the Holy Spirit‘s guidance as I am meditating on God‘s Word?
· Is the Word of God my main manual, guiding me daily and directing my thoughts and my steps?
As believers, our answers to these questions must be YES. If we want to be in true fellowship with our Savior, and if we want to live victorious lives, the answers always have to be a resounding YES! Prayerfully read through these verses and see if you don’t agree.
But He answered, “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:18-19
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6
As we begin to approach another school year, I want to challenge us to consider how much and to what degree God’s Word is guiding our thoughts, decisions, and actions. How much time are we spending in God’s Word? I realize time is such a prized yet scarce resource. However, there always seems to be time for what we value.
Don’t beat yourself up. Remember His grace is sufficient! Take inventory of how much time you are spending with God in His Word and set a goal to increase that amount on a daily basis. I’m not where I want to be yet either, but I know the moments I spend in God’s Word yield so much more than anything I give up. This is a promise!
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
The more time we spend in our perfect manual, the more our relationship with Christ will grow, and the more direction He will provide. We don’t have to navigate our lives from a place of uncertainty. Some of the best advice I ever read (from a great resource) was given to Anne-Graham Lotz by her mother. Ruth Graham wrote this in her daughter’s first Bible.
“We give this Book, your one sure guide in an unsure world. Read it, study it, love it, live it. In it you will find a verse for every occasion. Hide them in your heart.”
Our one sure guide—God’s Word. I can’t think of a more perfect manual!