Study the Manual
Last July, my family blessed me with a Mac Book Pro (Apple Laptop), for which I’m ever so grateful. However, since I’ve had this piece of equipment, I’ve never found the time to actually sit down and study the manual so that I can get the best out of its many incredible features. Yet I can see that the equipment has so much more to offer, than I’m presently enjoying. I have depended on others to explain some of the features to me or simply tried to learn by trial and error. The same applies to the use of my iPhone's and iPad. I’ve never really picked up their leaflets to study and make the most of the features they have on offer. Which is such a shame! But I’m determined to do something about it.
As it is in the natural, so also it is in the spiritual. Our journey through life is just like operating ‘new’ equipment, because we have never been this way before. Hence, our Heavenly Father has provided us with a Manual, the Bible, to guide us through this journey to ensure we get the best out of this life that He has given to us. If we don’t study this ‘manual’, it is obvious that we might not function as we were designed to do, and we might not get the best of His intentions for us.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one guilty of being too lazy to study the manual of my Laptop, iPhone or iPad. In the same vein, some of us are either too busy or too lazy to pick up our Bibles to ‘study to show ourselves approved unto God, as workmen that need not to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2Timothy 2:15). We depend on video/audio messages, or sermons delivered by other preachers, to feed our souls, and to guide us. For some others, it is the sermon we receive on Sunday morning in church that is our spiritual food for the rest of the week. There is nothing wrong with listening to inspired messages delivered by God’s able ministers.
However, given the perilous times that we’re in, and the fact that much error is being propagated on various platforms, there is the need for us to study the scriptures for ourselves, like the Berean Jews. In Acts 17:11, we read that “… the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”. We need to emulate their example. Or as the Bible says, we might find ourselves blown about “by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).
Besides, if we don’t study and/or find time to meditate on the word of God, how would we handle temptation when it comes, knowing that the devil himself can quote scriptures? If we don’t know the scriptures to use to counter his distorted quotes, how can we resist him? Our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knew and used the scriptures, which was why most of the time we read in the Bible that He lived His life to fulfill everything that was written concerning Him. Besides, when He was tempted by the devil, Jesus used the word against him, saying, “it is written…” If Jesus studied the word, who are we not to?
David was a man who understood the importance of the Word of God. In Psalm 119: 105, he said, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to lighten my path”. He also stated in Psalm 119: 11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”. Job also cherished the word of God and we all know the story of his life, and how it all ended. He said in Job 23: 12, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food”. Wow!!! I love that, and can relate to it myself.
Whilst I may not attach much importance to studying the manuals of some of my cherished equipment and accessories, nevertheless, I do not compromise on meditating on the word of God. Besides meditating on it at home every day, by the grace of God, I also have an audio bible (The Bible Experience), which I play regularly in car, so that everywhere I go, I can be regurgitating the word of God.
One can never underestimate the blessings that accrue to us when we study/meditate and OBEY the word of God. Psalm 1 articulates this very well, when it says “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither;and whatever he does shall prosper.”
One of the important secrets to our breakthroughs this year is how we handle the word of God. See Deuteronomy 28: 1-14. You can make the word work for you. But how can that happen if we do not find time to study the word? The point is that when we pray, we talk to God, but when we study the word; God will speak back to us. The Bible, as God’s manual for life, has the answer to every situation we will encounter in life, which is why He gave it to us in the first place. It’s really sad to see how many of us have made shipwrecks of our lives because we neglected the word. Imagine how foolish it’ll be for someone to have a SatNav in the glove compartment of his car, and refusing to use it to navigate his way around, when travelling to an unfamiliar location/destination. Or someone ordering a pre-packed furniture or other equipment from IKEA or Argos and not checking out the instructions for assembling it.
TODAY, we have the opportunity to make a fresh start, in relation to how we handle the word of God. It is not enough to have Bible apps on our iPhones and iPads. But we must engage with the word, and like David said, hide it in our hearts; that we do not sin against Him; and that we would live in the fullness of the abundance of life He has for us. It is my prayer that as we navigate our way through this maze of life, that the word of God will be a ‘lamp unto (our) feet, and a light unto our path’, in Jesus’ Name.
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts”
Have a Word-filled, Victorious and awesomely blessed day.
Yours in the Power of the Living Word
Elewechi Ngozi M. Okike