I must be honest, I don’t like to read instructions. I would rather try to figure things out. Recipes for me are guidelines or suggestions but not necessarily something that must be followed exactly…unless I am baking and then I follow the directions pretty closely. Of course, the time in the oven is negotiable. Every oven is different so when I bake I have to get to know my oven. I have figured out that chocolate chip cookies need 8 minutes and 20 seconds. They are done perfectly with this amount of time…just a bit of crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Many times when I make something new and it tastes really good my family will ask, “Will it ever taste like this again?” since I don’t always follow a recipe exactly and I don’t write down my modifications the taste is not usually quite the same. I guess it keeps them guessing.
God did not leave instructions in His word as suggestions to be taken in whatever way we want or pieced together in our own way.
He left exact instructions for us to follow. As seen throughout the many pages and stories of peoples’ lives, when God’s instructions are not followed life does not go well. Not following God’s directives results in punishment, broken relationships, hardships, and broken hearts.
Unlike my cooking and baking, we cannot play around with God’s directives and pick and choose how or when we want to implement them. They were meant to be followed just as they were written.
…but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make a name for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. (I Samuel 12:20-24).
These verses were written\spoken by Samuel to the Israelites but have great application for our lives today. Samuel gives directions to the people and to himself from God.
- Serve the Lord with all your heart
- Empty things are empty for they do not profit or deliver
- Instruct what is good and right
- Fear the Lord
- Serve Him faithfully with your whole heart
Results: The Lord will not forsake His people
Why: Consider/Remember the great things God has done for you
It seems pretty straightforward. Jesus when He was on earth simplified the directives given in the Old Testament to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30, 31). We see throughout the pages of Scripture examples of how individuals lived out these directives and others who did not. As we read through Scripture, we see an elaboration of these commands so we have a better understanding of how loving God and loving others looks like.
The six instructions listed above help us better understand how to love God and love others. As most of us know, the more we love God the easier it is to love others.
God’s recipe for life is tried and true. Look at the examples in Scripture. We don’t have to guess what pleases God; He told us exactly what pleases Him.
Follow the recipe exactly so you don’t have to guess at the outcome.