Instructions – Love or Hate?
Is following instructions an easy or difficult thing for you? Have you ever been forced to follow instructions to put something together? Do you prefer your instructions written down or read to you? Most of us recognize the need for instructions, but often loosely follow them. Instructions vary in our life from the rules in which we should live, the laws we must follow to avoid a negative consequence, or the directions on how to put something together to make it function properly. And this last one seems to be the key to all of them. For if we chose to do things our way or make up our own instructions things as well as life just doesn’t function or operate as it was designed.
I don’t know about you, but it has been my experience over the years, that it is best to just follow the instructions. I have tried many times to think I can do something on my own, find my way, or purposely rebel because I disagreed with the instructions and the results have been less than stellar. In most of these cases, it was to start over again. This often takes extra time, sometimes extra money, and occasionally having to make amends with people who get hurt along the way. Being skilled in following instructions is a life lesson that never ends. But where do instructions come from and what’s the root of their importance?
The Root of All Instructions
Children are taught from a young age, to follow instructions. These instructions are to keep them safe. They help them adapt and get along with others and be able to grow up and function properly in society. When you look at the root of all instructions, they seem to boil down to one. As there is only one instruction in life that gives birth to all others. And without that one basic instruction, the rest doesn’t matter. Real-life instructions derive from one root, love. It is with this that we learn how to live a life with good operation.
Living a Christian life is certainly one that begins with instructions. The Apostle Paul helps us, as he helped the early church, see that there are simple instructions or guidelines for life. But they all must begin with love. But make no mistake, this is no ordinary type of love. For instructions are simply meaningless if love is not genuine. God calls us to a real and genuine love that must go beyond being hypocritical and polite.
If we want to transform ourselves and the world we live in, we must let our love be genuine. After Paul explains how the root of instruction is love, he gets specific. For once we understand love the tools of life that follow closely behind are respect, honor, patience, and prayer. Additionally, we are to do away with judgment, punishment, and vengeance. It is through the use of employing these tools that we can change not only ourselves, but our communities and the world.
The Real Thing
These are the basic instructions and tools for Christian living as redeemed people in a fallen world. We are expected to give ourselves to Christ as living sacrifices, obey the governments, love our neighbors, and take special care of those who are weak. This is how we learn to live out our faith each day. But all of these are meaningless unless we love first.
Being skilled in putting on airs, pretending, and just being something, we aren’t is meaningless. Surface caring though feigning to show compassion or false indignancy when learning of injustice or speaking kindly only to avoid hurting someone’s feeling is not genuine love. And as Christians, it is genuine love that we are called to do.
If we want the instructions of life to reflect and teach others a life of good Christian operation, we must remember that it takes our time, our money, and most importantly our involvement. God doesn’t suggest we follow these guidelines, He demands it. It is in this way that as we make ourselves better people through our demonstration and reflection so others can also benefit.
Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them, hate what is wrong, Hold tightly to what is good.Romans 12:9 (NLT)
Where Should We Begin?
So, how do we reach a level of genuine love that reaches beyond ourselves? How do we help ourselves, as well as others, have a solid God-inspired set of life instructions? It begins with a commitment and concentration along with effort. It is with these things; we can first demonstrate genuine love through helping others. But this basic guide or instruction isn’t a solo act. For it takes a body of Christ working together to express love to both believers and nonbelievers in our communities and the world beyond.
The body of Christ must work together looking for people who need love and for ways we can love our communities for Christ. Living out faith is not easy. Each of us has personal stumbling blocks in our lives that can cause genuine love for others to fail. Sometimes these stumbling blocks are us, someone else, or possibly a bad habit. We must lay our differences aside however and work together to achieve genuine love for others. Each of us can begin with our own family and micro-communities. But for genuine love to be effective and true change be seen for whole communities, we must work together with other members of the body of Christ.
Working Together for the Instructions of Good Operation
When the body of Christ works together, they identify people who need love and for ways, this love can be demonstrated. It may be as simple as prayer, feeding and clothing a family, or working on a larger scale to reach out to meet the needs of the community at large. The purpose of instruction, as given to us in 1 Timothy 1:5, is so all believers overflow with a love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. If we want to live in a world that operates or functions properly, we must remember that we are not just encouraged but commanded to work together to reform our own legal and social systems. (Amos 5:15) But it all circles back to genuine love.
Won’t you take the challenge to help create a world that functions properly by knowing that all instructions first begin by demonstrating genuine love to others? Firmly root your convictions in the scriptures that teach that the basics of life begin with love. Seek your motivation in the teachings of Paul and the early church that committed to showing their communities that real love meets real needs and from this, instructions or guidelines for good living are developed. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God, the Father, sent His Son for you because of His genuine love.
And it is through this genuine love that you can realize that the instructions of life help you live and operate at your highest level.
Love in Christ,
If I try to understand what it means to be a Christian, I look at the two instructions that were given in the Bible that are paramount, and those are to love God with all your heart and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself, That’s it.Bruce Cockburn
What are your thoughts?
Do you find it difficult to follow the instructions of life given to you? Have you felt the effects of genuine love demonstrated to you through the actions of Christ? Share your thoughts on the need for everyone to understand that the basis of all instructions come from a genuine love from Christ.