Prov. 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be happy.
Who at sometime in their life has not done it or seen someone else who did? You go and purchase something and get the box home, open the box and there it is, all in pieces. Different parts, sometimes special tools included, and the infamous instructions. But as you look to the parts and the lengthy instructions you figure two things. The first is that you don’t have time to read those instructions, which leads to the second mistake that you think that you really don’t need them, for after all you can put it together yourself.
After several frustrating hours of putting things together and then taking them apart you begin to realize you would have actually saved more time had you just read and followed in detail those instructions. At this point you feel you have even less time to spare so on you go. The unfortunate part is that you may often never finish, or you do, but for some reason it just doesn’t work right. Sound familiar? Just recently I purchased an item that did not have the instructions with it. Someone forget to place them in the box. After several hours and putting it together then taking it apart, as it was not a major project, I finally got it done. But I had to do something twice that I could have gotten right the first time if it just would have had instructions with it.
Life is a lot like this. I can’t tell you how many times in my life personally and seeing this in the lives of other believers we have told ourselves to take time to focus in on God’s Word and make sure what we are about to do we were doing so as instructed in detail by God’s instruction manual. Yet we don’t take time to do so, or we pick and choose what we like of the Word and what we don’t, and in time down the road we are going to be disappointed in the results. God may get the blame, or we may just think that what we heard or read doesn’t work for everyone. This is a convenient way to live life in which we don’t have to take any responsibility for our part. The unfortunate part is that we are missing out on what God wanted for our life and often don’t even realize it.
God’s Word is explicit with instructions for this life. As the phrase has been stated many times the Bible is God’s instruction manual before leaving earth. There are those who say we don’t even need the Bible anymore for it is no longer relevant. Others may get focused only on principles in the Bible, which are important, but never learn through those principles how to develop a relationship with God, which is what He desires for us all. So we need to realize that God has given us all the details we need to do life the right way, and it includes getting to know Him.
As our foundation text tells us if we want to prosper, which means in the Hebrew language here to experience good, that which is sweet, to be well off, then we need to listen to God’s instructions. Those who do so are trusting God. Many talk about trusting God, but if we do that means we are going to find out what God says about something and how He says to we are to do it, and we are going to take Him at His Word. We are going to believe what He says, and we are going to do explicitly what He says. Realize that this means we can’t be leaving parts out.
There are several recipes that my Grandmother had for different deserts and dishes that I loved as a kid. I remember as I got older one of those deserts I loved was shoe fly pie. That is correct, shoe fly pie. I asked my Grandma if she would give me the recipe for this dessert and she did. I can remember the first time I made it. It did not come out the same as hers. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but I came to find out there were a couple of things I had not done the way she did them. I got together with her and then with her help learned what I was not doing properly and behold, I was able to make the same shoe fly pie my Grandmother made.
This is a lot like how God’s Word works. First of all realize that if you leave certain steps out or certain ingredients out it is not going to come out the way God said. He did nothing wrong, nor does He not want to see you succeed, but you must take the time to learn to do things God’s way. This is two-fold. One you must take time to get into the Word of God and learn how God says things work. This is not as easy as some may think for God’s ways are not our ways. Take a look.
Is. 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
You see this is already one of the key issues with following God’s instructions. Often we come to God and His Word with our own preconceived idea of how we want to do something, but then we find out that is not how God does things. He is not going to change for us. God comes down to meet us where we are to then take us up to where He is. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours, and they are better.
The problem is if we come to God with how we want to do something and expect to get God’s results we are already defeated. We must be willing to do things God’s way. For example many want God to bless them and provide for them, but the way God declared clearly in His Word that He does this is through sowing and reaping. This is still offensive to some, but yet in scripture you cannot get around the fact that this is how God blesses us. There are many verses on this for example from the Words of Jesus He said that if you give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give unto you.
I know there are those who have exploited the body of Christ, but it doesn’t take much insight to realize those who are doing the work of the Bible and those who are just hirelings. Realize though no matter what you personally think about God blessing you it does not change what God’s Word says about it. We can choose to do things God’s way or our way, but His ways are not ours, and no I am not taking an offering here. Yet people want to see God bless them but those who get offended at what scripture says never do experience the blessing God has because they are not following the instructions.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
The other side of this is you must come and learn from Jesus. This is more than just looking to the Word of God. Remember my example of trying to make shoe fly pie with the instructions I was given, but until I got together with my Grandma and learned from her how to make it, it did not come out the same. You see this is just like walking with God. We often don’t take the time to develop our relationship with the Lord, we may even read the Word of God, which we need to do to learn of Him and get His understanding of things, but we must also take time to develop our relationship as well.
There are things that you are only going to learn and get a hold of when you take time to get with the Lord and learn from Him. Without doing so you will often be missing something that you just are not seeing in the Word of God that is a key element to seeing God’s way work in your life. It is these simple but missing elements that often keep us from seeing what God desires for us to come to pass. The Word of God without relationship with God becomes nothing more than a religion. Those who say they have relationship with God in today’s times but don’t have His Word in their life will lack full understanding of how to live, for God and His Word are one. Realize we need both.
Even Jesus’ disciples had many of the writings of the Old Testament they had studied, but they had the Word’s of Christ spoken to them personally as well, which they later inspired by the Holy Spirit penned for us. They had both the Word’s of Christ and a close relationship with Him. Time and again we see Jesus teaching His disciples what to do, and then showing them by example as well as correcting them when they did wrong. So we need both if we want to follow God’s instructions for our life.
John 17:17Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
What is going to set you apart from those who don’t experience what God wants for our lives? It is the Truth, His Word, following His instructions explicitly for our lives. You can’t leave things out and see it work for you. You must take time to learn from Jesus and follow His example. Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 4:22 that God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. But it won’t be that if you don’t take time to learn what verses 20-27 say you must do to get that life and health. Just knowing God’s Word is life and health won’t bring life and health, you must know how it comes. So take time to learn and follow His instructions. Doing so you will prosper.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker