Suggestions and Instructions

There are suggestions and there are instructions.

They’re not in opposition all the time. Often they can compliment each other.

There are some times, though, when there’s a distinct impression that they work against each other. Take for example when the instructions to use a mobile phone tell you to do something that you overlook. Having done that the phone doesn’t appear to work and with no time to follow all that writing you just ask a mate who knows phones who suggests you do a thing and another thing and that should do the trick, he thinks. You follow that suggestion, but before you know it that issue gets worse.

One of the most memorable episodes in scripture to me is the one of The Prophet with No Name in 1 Kings 13. God gave the Prophet clear instructions and the Prophet fulfilled most of it, until he followed the suggestion of an older prophet who pulled the ‘hey I hear from God too’ line. Even though that line clearly took him away from God’s instructions.

Following Jesus is not always clear cut as instructions in a booklet for that new mobile phone. Reducing scripture to simplistic follow these steps and everything will be fine, does not mesh with reality. That’s why God’s instructions are birthed out of relationship. He doesn’t expect us to obey mechanically or out of obligation. His heart is for us and desire for us to desire Him.

Doing that requires us to be aware of the value of our relationship with Him. Who He is and the great things He has done and is doing even in declaring His commitment to us in His Son Jesus Christ. On the basis of this most valuable relationship we can trust His instructions.

And be careful of those dodgy suggestions.

For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden

For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden


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