Study the Owner’s Manual

It was time again to update our cell phone plan and since we no longer have any kids on our plan, we finally decided to leave the Stone Age and add texting to our plan.  And not only texting, but I’ve noticed how brilliant those people are who buy those “smart phones,” so I figured an upgrade would really give me a boost.  It shouldn’t be long before you notice that the preacher is also getting smarter.
Wow, I’m amazed at how smart my new phone is!  I can see my new phone is going to be life transforming—if I ever learn how it all works.  The guy who sold it to me said it was really easy to operate, however within this past week I’ve made 23 trips and have put on 71 miles travelling back and forth to the phone store on the south end of town in order to ask questions on how to operate my phone.
I have a feeling the salesman is beginning to wish he would’ve never met me since the last time I was in he said, “You do know that a smart phone doesn’t necessarily make a person any smarter.  Maybe it would be helpful if you read through the owner’s manual.”  As I walked out the door, I thought, “Maybe I should forget about trying to figure out how to buy apps and all the other fancy stuff and just use it as a regular old phone.”
Ok, so I’m having a little fun with this experience, but making this upgrade reminded me of many people when they decide to begin following Jesus.  At first they are so excited about being a new creation; the feeling alone at the possibility of a transformed life is incredible.  They begin by telling others about the joy of their “shopping” experience of how they found Jesus.  And in order to discover how to operate their new life they begin to ask their friends and family how to use their life.
But like many people who buy fancy smart phones and never really make the effort to discover what they are capable of, so too, many new Christians never really make the effort to read God’s owner’s manual in order to discover the amazing things he wants to do in and through their lives.  I know all about this, because it took me 37 years before I really began digging into the Bible.
So what’s the big deal about studying the Bible?  Well, here’s just one example of why it’s a big deal.  “7Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you.  Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left.  Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.  9 This is my command—be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)
Or did you know this is how God feels about you?  “Don’t be afraid.  Dear (your name), don’t despair.  Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” (Zephaniah 3:16-17)
Well, how about it, could it be that the reason your new life in Christ hasn’t been that big of deal is because you’ve been too busy or too lazy to pick up the owner’s manual?  Father, may you grant each person in American Reformed Church a never-ending passion for studying your owner’s manual in order that we might truly discover who we are in Christ.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Grace and “tweet,”

Mike

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