I recently renewed my tags for my vehicle. When I went out to my car to put the new year sticker on, I began to peel it back. But it wouldn't peel. Finally I looked at the instructions and it told me how to peel it correctly, and it told me the instructions were "IMPORTANT". I've been peeling and applying annual tag stickers for 30 years. I never had to read instructions about how to peel the sticker off until this time. How complicated can it be? Why was there now a method that required instructions? The only thing I could figure was it was a government program, and our government is determined to take the simple and make it complicated, if for no other reason than to give someone else a useless job of writing instructions for peeling a sticker.
That being said, it is what it is. So I bent the sticker at the dotted line, and it began to peel back. I didn't feel any better about the process, but I was glad my sticker was coming off. Ironically, as it came off, the wind blew the paper back and the stucker became attached at a different point. This became a problem. The paper would not come off of the corner of the sticker, and now my year sticker is not completely stuck on my tag. I read the instructions, but I didn't follow the last part as closely as I should. I wasn't careful as I peeled the sticker.
So three lessons were reinforced on that day.
Firstly, is a right way to do things. I don't know how long I would have stood there trying to get my fingernail up under a corner to peel it back. But that wasn't the right way. There was really only one right way to successfully perform that particular task. There may be millions of wrong ways, but there was only one right way.
Secondly, there are instructions. They were right there where my fingers were trying to scrape the sticker off. I was fighting with the paper that actually held the solution to my problem. Someone knew that the system was different and would require some special action, so they wrote it out for me. They were helping me, and all I had to do was read. I didn't have to reinvent the process and figure it out on my own. I could get frustrated and upset that they changed the system, but with the new system came clear instructions. I can't ask for more than that.
Thirdly, all of the instructions matter... especially when they use the word 'IMPORTANT'. My task was not complete just because I removed the sticker from the wax part of the paper. The goal was not just to remove the sticker, but to apply it to the plate. The sticker is very sticky, as it is supposed to last a year in various weather elements. So if it touches something between the waxy part of the paper and the plate, you are going to have issues. Care is needed to complete the task. They even told me that.
Now, the life application seems pretty clear. In the Garden of Eden we had one rule. It was super clear. Don't eat from that one tree. I don't know how long they lived there without eating from it. But at some point, they disobeyed God, and the world became vastly different. We went from having a very simple rule that anyone could easily follow to having a broken and complicated world with literally thousands of rules that are meant to keep us alive. Thankfully God has given us His word, and people who dedicate their lives to knowing His word, to help us know the instructions.
Here are a couple of things the Bible says about instructions...
"Listen to instruction and be wise; don’t ignore it." (Proverbs 8:33)
"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The purpose of instruction is to make us wise and ready for every good work God puts before us. God may have allowed us to be born into a broken and complicated world, but He has given us everything we need to to live a Godly life. For the believer, it is literally right in front of us, and even in us. We are never too young or too old for instruction. But we can be too prideful for it. One of my prayers is that God will keep me from becoming so arrogant that I can't receive instruction.
Many of us want to build the item without reading the instructions, or glancing at them. But as cumbersome and redundant as they seem to be, they are there to help us successfully complete the mission. Frankly, for a lot of things in life there is not just one right way. God gives us free will, and beyond that, He gives us options so that we can experience a unique life on this wonderful planet. And the instructions are not always written out in black and white. Many times it is about following the leading of the Spirit of God working in your life, using the principles you find in His word. And not every decision holds a universe of awful consequences if you aren't as careful as a brain surgeon.
But generally there is a specific right way, and clear instructions that should be followed carefully. Today, don't try to reinvent the wheel in your life. When you come to a problem that you can't naturally work through, don't fight it. Find the instructions, and follow them carefully. You will be wiser and empowered to accomplish greater things.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.