What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.The Westminster Shorter Catechism: With Scripture Proofs. 3rd edition. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996. Print.
Do you know what is both the most published book in the world and the least read book in the world? It is your Car Owners Manual. Honestly, unless you’ve had a problem with your car, when have you ever consulted or even attempted to read that book?
I was riding in a car with a friend recently, who had been driving his new car for about a year, and he mentioned that he was frustrated with his car because the dashboard was always hard to see during the day when he didn’t have his lights on. He was actually thinking about selling the car. I reached in the glovebox, found how to adjust the dashboard lights, and told him what to do. He was gobsmacked! He didn’t know you could adjust the dashboard lights, didn’t know the manual contained such treasures of information, and was suddenly very happy with his car.
As ridiculous as that sounds, how many of us take the same approach to life in general. We go through the day frustrated with our lives, never seeming to be able to figure out how to make things better. We tell ourselves “life doesn’t come with an instruction manual,” and then proceed to forge ahead on our own, making things up as we go. We’re faced with big issues in life, questions of right and wrong, matters of life and death, wondering about eternity; but have convinced ourselves that there’s no way of knowing for sure any of the answers, so we’re plagued with doubt and despair.
The good news is God has given us a manual for life, and it contains everything we need to know in order to answer those persistent questions about what is right and wrong, about life and death, and even to give certainty about eternity. This owners manual is the Bible, the Word of God. The author of life has authored this Book, and it is the only authoritative rule for life and faith, showing us how we may glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Every word of “Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Ti 3:16–17). It is through the careful and prayerful study, meditation, and application of God’s inspired word to our lives that we gain a heart of wisdom and understanding. Every question of faith and practice is answered here. The Westminster Confession teaches us:
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture…Westminster Assembly. The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition. Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851. Print.
It is both our duty and delight, then, to pick up and read the manual. We aren’t left in this world to make it up as we go, but we have been given the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps 119:105). Don’t stumble through this world in darkness, take up and read. Don’t wait until you’ve made absolute shambles of your life to refer to the manual; take up and read. And when life is in shambles around your feet, don’t try to rebuild it on your own; take up and read.