Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Avoid "How to" Books

Near the line of cashiers at most home improvement stores or warehouses is a library of "How to" books. You can find anything from "How to Build a Deck" to "Plumbing a 70-Story Building for Dummies."

Actually, I'm not really sure what the titles are because I never pull over and pick one up. I only know they are there because I've glanced in that direction once or twice. I'm thinking of writing a book called,
"How to Avoid 'How to' Books."

Why do I avoid those books? Because I know me. I wouldn't make it past the introduction page without trying to figure out who I could hire to do this project. Demolition and disassembly I can do without a manual. But construction, assembling, remodeling, or repairing turns me into Curious George. All I do is make messes and anger the man in the yellow hat.

It's not that I don't think plumbing, concrete, wiring, and construction are important. I do. I just want it all to be done right. I would even appreciate a lifetime guarantee that none of that stuff would ever fizzle or fall apart.

What do I do? I call a professional or a friend who has read the manuals and knows what he is doing. This stuff is too important to put in the hands of a Mr. Get'r Done whose tongue is dangling back and forth over his lower lip and says,
"Let's put this thingy over here and that whatchacallit over there. That oughta work. Try it now."

I'm convinced some folks treat the maintenance and construction of their hearts and lives the same way I treat home repairs. The bookstores have volumes of advice on how to do life. But they're all written by tongue-dangling humans whose own lives have missing parts and imperfect performance.

There's really only one book on the shelf that gives accurate (even flawless) directions to the complexities and uncertainties of human existence: The Bible.

Which one? There's really only one. I know there are plenty of counterfeits. But there's really only one true Bible. It starts with Genesis, ends with Revelation, has no more than 66 books in it, and isn't published by the Watch Tower Society. Clear enough?

I find that Christians bypass reading the Bible for themselves for the same reason I bypass the "How to" books at Jowe's and The Domicile Depot. They are afraid they won't be able to understand. They feel overwhelmed and unqualified.

That's where the really good news happens. Let me illustrate. Let's say I walk into Jowe's because I need to repair a faucet. I walk over to the library of plumbing and pick up a book called, "Faucet Repair for the Totally Inept," read three sentences and get frustrated because there are no pictures except the ones with Chinese subtitles. Before I can slam the book shut, a guy in a blue frock wearing a smile and a name tag that reads, "Joe Lee Spearit" comes over and says, "Can I help you?"

Joe guides me through the repair manual, shows me the tools I need, and demonstrates for me exactly what I need to do to fix my faucet. I go home, fix the faucet, grunt, and raise my hands in tool man victory.

It is the same with God's Word. As you pick it up to read it, ask the Author of the Bible to guide you through it. God's authorized representative is God Himself who comes in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will "teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things" (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit won't mislead you, either. He will "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).

Be not afraid. Pick up The Book. Whisper a prayer for help and begin reading today.

You can do it. He can help.
Perry Crisp

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