My sophomore year of college I lived in a house a few blocks off campus with three other girls, only one of whom I really knew at all. One day I wanted to grab a cup of coffee on my way out of the house. I grabbed a travel mug out of the cupboard, filled it with cold coffee, and threw it in the microwave. Although I fully intended to return it, this travel mug was not mine. This travel mug was also mostly made of metal. How I got to my sophomore year of college without knowing that you are not supposed to put metal in the microwave, I have no idea. I was so embarrassed that I quick washed and dried the damaged mug and threw it back in the cupboard where I found it. Awful, terrible thing to do. (Jenny H., if you are reading this- I think the mug was yours… I’m really sorry- it was me!)
I remember being so frustrated that I went on a quest to find a book or manual of all the things that you need to know in life- all the little details that everyone else knows so I wouldn’t make a complete fool of myself and ruin perfectly good travel mugs anymore. I believe I started with a google search for “A dummy’s guide to life”.
There is no shortage of self-help, how-to, step-by-step guides in this world. You can find a book and research supporting any theory and lifestyle you want, telling you exactly how to do just about anything.
Take parenting: You can find firm believers in everything! Let them cry it out! No, don’t! Bathe them every day! No, don’t! Co-sleep! No, don’t! Immunize! No, don’t! Circumcise! No, don’t! Home School! No, don’t! I could go on forever. You can talk to grandmas and great grandmas and they will go on and on about how different it used to be, and how much has changed, and what they were told to do.
It’s not just parenting either, it’s everything in life. There are so many guides and theories on “how to be happy/get rich/live simply/eat clean/etc.” that it’s impossible to keep up. There are a lot of really great ideas out there with a lot of benefit for those who incorporate them into their lives.
However, there is only one guide that’s worth dedicating our whole lives to, and I think you know what it is.
The bible is not some kind of 10 day detox, or collaboration of helpful hints to get you through the toddler years. Scripture guides us every minute of every day in every aspect of our lives. It also provides the motivation to follow its instruction.
More energy, a healthier body, well behaved kids, better communication in marriage: these are all applaudable goals that are important to pursue. There is one goal, though, that trumps all others.
We need to make absolutely sure that nothing gets in the way of the goal of heaven, and fulfilling our calling as Christians.
The bible also guides us in very specific ways and addresses parenting, marriage, the way we treat our bodies, and pretty much anything else that we need.
A lot of times we feel like scripture is not really giving us a clear directives, but a lot of times we convince ourselves that scripture isn’t being clear because we don’t like what it means for us.
Some don’t feel like incorporating the Word of God into every aspect of their lives because it doesn’t really fit their lifestyle. Scripture addresses that too.
We don’t use the bible with the motivation of healthier bodies, better behaved children, stronger marriages, and financial security. We cherish it because it is the Word of God, showing us our sin and need for a Savior, and fulfilling the promise of Christ and of heaven. We can’t pick and choose which parts to apply to our lives, because it is not intended for our personal gain in this earthly life.
Yes, the bible has instruction on parenting, marriage, and how to treat our bodies. The Scriptures, though, ultimately make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. It is this God-breathed scripture that ensures that we are thoroughly equipped.
This is a promise that beats any self help, how to, step by step guide ever written.