Friday, December 2, 2016

Okay, I need a manual on this one!

I read a little bit of a funny quip the other day: "Any product that needs a manual to work is broken." (Elon Musk) If we stop for just a moment to consider the wisdom in that statement, we might just be humbled right into understanding why God gave us the scripture! The scripture is, after all, the manual for living! That must mean we are broken - for the manual was written for us! As broken as we are - God has made a way for us to come to an understanding of our brokenness and find a way back to wholeness - through his Son, Jesus.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 ESV)


Man does not always embrace this idea of coming to an understanding of one's brokenness, though. As broken, we see ourselves as "unable" or "incapacitated" when it comes to performing some task, overcoming some obstacle, or facing some challenge head on. We don't like feeling a little helpless. We want to feel like we have life by the tale, not the other way around. Maybe this is why we resist the idea of needing to refer to the manual!

The moment we recognize our need, that is the moment we recognize there must be some way to uncover how that need can be met. We set about finding whatever we imagine will satisfy that need - even if it isn't what God has designed - we will pursue it simply because it promises something we "think" will help us. It is all too frequently that what we thought was "designed" to meet the need ends up being something which is really quite the opposite - adding only to the complexity of our need in the end.

As so often was the case when growing up, my family would turn to me to read the instructions for a new game, or they would ask my advice on how to assemble an object such as a new bookshelf that came in a carton 1/10th the size of the object once assembled. They knew I'd read the instructions - the manual provided by the designer. It wasn't that I relished the idea of reading that detail, but they trusted me with the detail and that I could somehow put it into an order that made sense.

God doesn't give us his word just to sit on our coffee table or assume a prominent position on a bookshelf somewhere. He gives us the word because the product is broken! We need the information contained within those pages to help us understand where the pieces all fit and how they are all to function together - body, soul, and spirit - all uniquely made and purposefully functioning together in harmony with God's Spirit.

If we are going to ever be "assembled" into the work of art he created us to be, we need to reference the manual. Just sayin!