I have an extremely intense "love/hate relationship" with my electronic gadgets.
The problem is that they will always do one of two things. They'll either make my life easier, or make it exceptionally more difficult.
Consider my computer. Before buying it, I did quite a bit of online research using my old computer - which, btw, only cemented in my mind the need to buy a new one due to the amount of time it took the old one to pull up various websites I needed to visit.
Once my decision was made, I went to the store and purchased the one I'm now using. I was like a kid in a candy store when I brought it home. I couldn't wait to put it together and begin using it...........Then it happened........... Before I could use it to it's full potential, I was asked a long series of questions by my precious new device. Questions such as "You have changed this setting.......Are you sure you want to do that?"
......................Um....................Not really..............Should I be?
"Would you like to return to the default setting?"
......................Um................What's the default setting? Is that better? And if so, why?
And on and on the questions went. But then it became far worse. After it was up and running, I had to install some of my old software that I really enjoyed using on my old computer. That's when I ran into various types of compatibility issues, out-dated drivers, loss of sound and/or video. It was maddening, but not at all uncommon. We've all experienced these things, and before we know it, the device we bought to make our lives more efficient has taken a month worth of our free time just to figure out how to use it.
Then, just to enjoy an intense and mind-numbing exercize in futility, we give up on the computer or the software and call the "1-800-I don't speak a word of English, but I'm here to help you" hotline.
You'd make more progress taking your computer and pounding lumps in your head with it.
Here's where I need to make a confession. I'm one of those people who will buy something new, completely ignore the owners manual with the exception of the occassional glance when I'm completely lost, and just hope for the best. Maybe that's just a "guy thing," but I usually start out with a fair amount of confidence that I'll figure it out for myself as I go along. I mean, I tend to believe I'm a fairly bright guy..........Not a genius by any standard, but I'm certainly not stupid. "How hard can it be?" I ask myself with a confident smirk.
It doesn't matter what the gadget is. It could be a computer, a tv, a stereo component, a DVD player, or even down to a coffee maker or an electric can opener. I always do the same thing. I pull it out of the box and stare at it for a few seconds.........then dive right in. Part of my problem is that I'm firmly entrenched in the "instant gratification" mindset of our age. I want it working, and I want it to work NOW!!!
How often do we do that in our spiritual lives?
How many times have we been in situations that are difficult for us in various ways, and we just kinda wing it, hoping for the best? How many days go by when nothing extraordinary happens, and so we just go through the motions, assuming that if nothing is exploding or falling apart, we must be doing something right?
That being said, how much more complicated is life than a computer? How much more complicated is our faith than a DVD player? How much more complicated is our God than all of the appliances and gadgets in our homes combined? And yet............we glance at our bibles from time to time, if we even do that. We offer up short prayers without giving them much thought.
Many very wise people over the years have referred to bibles as a type of "owners manual" for our lives, and I absolutely agree with that line of thinking.
If we truly read our bibles.............If we study them and reflect deeply upon what we've read.......If we pray for God to give us His wisdom and insight as we read and reflect, it would be like having the owners manual for our entire lives right in front of us, being explained carefully, patiently, and thoroughly by the writer Himself.
Hebrews 4:12 says:
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
That's not just a book, my friends.............That's a living, breathing, active owners manual that, once taken in and reflected upon, is able to "judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Is that what we want? Do we want God to speak to us on a level far beyond just giving us a list of rules and instructions, but as deeply as showing us the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts? That's who we were created to be.
A.W. Tozer wrote:
"For life we are wholly and continually dependent upon God, the source and fountain of life. Only by full dependence upon Him are the hidden potentialities of our natures realized. Apart from this we are but half-men, malformed and unbeautiful members of a noble race once made to wear the image of it's creator."
Do we want to realize our full potential as created by the Lord Himself? Then we must take the time to read our bibles regularly. Study it. Reflect upon it. Allow God to speak to us through it. We can easily disregard this thought, believing that our lives are just too busy or complicated to do so. If we look at any day of the week, we can surely find the time somewhere to do so. And what will we be missing out on if we choose not to? The ability to realize the hidden potentialities we were created to live out by God Himself.