"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Following the Instructions

A few days ago, I fixed my cell phone. Yes, me—a technological dummy. For several days that “smart phone” would not connect to the Internet. The last time that happened, it took over two hours to drive to the Verizon dealer and get it fixed. The only thing the technician there could figure out was to reset my entire phone. That meant more work for me plus a few more problems trying to get all my settings back where I wanted them. 

So this time, before going to people who were supposed to know what they were doing, I decided to check out the online help offered by my cell phone’s maker. Step by step the manufacturer described how to fix the problem—and it worked. That process saved me a lot of time and angst.

Following the guidance of a product’s creator pretty much guarantees satisfaction. And, a properly functioning device sure beats trying to use one that's full of flaws. In my opinion, almost nothing is more frustrating.

Life offers a stunning correlation. Operating out of instinct or to the best of my or someone else’s knowledge can simply lead to increasing complications. One person’s guess may be as good as another’s—or far worse. Perhaps that’s why so many people become chocoholics, shopaholics, workaholics, alcoholics, foodaholics and more. Many years ago, after realizing that no human being had the answers I needed, I started checking out the best instruction manual I could find—the Bible, considered by many to be the Word of God.

A. W. Tozer describes its power in chapter 6 of his book The Pursuit of God:

"The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful [emphasis mine]. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book."

At first my interest in the Bible was based on my experience. Every other religion I was aware of said I had to be good enough, big enough, and strong enough to navigate life’s difficulties and bring myself up to “God’s” expectations. As previously mentioned, my childhood easily established that I wasn’t nor ever could be that good

Christianity was (and is) the only belief system that could connect me to the Creator through His efforts, instead of mine. Only “if” there was a Savior, did I have a chance to find genuine fulfillment. So with nothing to lose and everything to gain, I decided to start operating based on the Creator’s instructions. What I’ve found bears little resemblance to the image of Christianity so often portrayed in the media or even by some well-meaning but extremely vocal "Bible thumpers."

When I need technological help, I especially appreciate someone who doesn’t make me feel stupid, but values me as an individual and instructs me with gentleness. Being frustrated by life's circumstances, that same dynamic drew me to Jesus, the cornerstone of Christianity.  His message--“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light”--gave me hope. 

This line of reasoning also met at least some of the criteria of the nine tests for a viable worldview offered by theologian/philosopher Kenneth Richard Samples in his book A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test. A workable view of the world is tomorrow’s topic.

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