An elderly friend got a new machine not quite long ago. And he just decided to make use of it now. Prior to the time of installation, he points to the booklet in his hand and says, “study the manual”. I agreed to do so.
After a while, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about the use of manual. And I thought I could share it with you.
We’d be looking at the topic in the light of Colossians chapter 2. I’ve been studying the chapter for some time now, and I find it fitting for this post. It’s not a Bible study though.
This post is a long, I didn’t want to split it into two parts. Do bear with me, please.
What’s a manual?
This is a booklet that instructs on the usage of a particular machine.
I’d like to draw our attention to the verb, ‘instruct’. The manual instructs. *really?* Yeah, it does speak. It speaks the mind of the manufacturer. It tells us the intent of the manufacturer – how his invention should be used.
However, not everyone sees the need to look at the manual. Some people do this ignorantly, while some knowingly ignore the manual because they’ve attained a certain height in the knowledge of technology. *do you give little or no attention to manuals? If yes, why?*
At this juncture, it’ll be my pleasure to announce that
God is the manufacturer
We are His invention.
His written Word is our manual.
With respect to the second reason I cited for people ignoring manuals, no amount of human knowledge can bring about fulfillment of the purpose for which man was created. Not at all. It doesn’t apply to God.
The world is increasing vastly in human knowledge – technology, medicine and so on. Yet, the Bible records “My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. You …have refused to learn…” Hosea 4:6
The Message Translation translates knowledge as ‘the revelation of God‘
Necessity for the Manual.
“My goal is that they… may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Colossians 2:2-3 NIV
Here Paul expresses a deep concern – the believers should come to the acknowledgement of and complete understanding of the manual, Jesus.
“…I …delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:5-7 NIV
Paul not only wants the believer to acknowledge and understand the manual, but also desires obedience to Jesus. Our lives, as Christians, ought to be shaped by the manual.
He goes on to say, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
Colossians 2:9-10 NIV
Wow! He’s simply saying, Jesus is the embodiment of God. The manual is a complete reflection of the manufacturer’s mind.
“And it is in union with Him that you have been made full…”
Colossians (Col) 2:10 CJB
Hallelujah, in Christ we are complete.
The Manual is a complete guide, divinely instructing on the man you are meant to be.
What the manual offers.
The manual gives a detailed analysis of the machine. More often than not, the structural overview is given as fully labeled diagrams.
All through the Bible, we see God speaking of man’s identity. It’s very easy to identify with a wrong identity – Ignore the manual.
Our true identity lies in the revelational knowledge of whom God is. You can’t possibly know who you are outside God. You need to know God (not about God) to know yourself. And Jesus, the Word, is the only way to knowing God.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 KJV
Installation could prove knotty when I little or nothing is known about the features. We can’t fit into God’s redemptive plan if we don’t know whom we are in Christ. A triangular peg and a round hole are not compatible. “Blessed is the one …whose delight is in the law of the Lord , and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water…”
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
How to use
This part is aimed at maximizing efficiency. The how-to-use section is very important seeing human philosophy and ideology are somewhat prevalent. Paul has this to say in verse 8 of Colossians 2. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” NKJV
To those of us, Christians, who go about Christianity religiously (just like the Pharisees), the use of (almost) all machine varies with changing conditions. For example, the operation of a washing machine is influenced by the material(s) to be washed – that’s just one of a million more cases. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:3 NIV
We pay for ignorance. and it is no cheap commodity – the price increase with increasing level of ignorance. Tragic! The troubleshooting is included, I believe, to make us say confidently just like Paul, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1. This was not the case in the last eleven verses of chapter 7.
The price we pay for ignorance increases with increasing distance from knowledge. Worse than that, the price we pay is often only to get solution and not knowledge.
The manual is somewhat respected when it comes to troubleshooting. It saves us the cost of paying for ignorance.
You know how it feels when nothing comes of your effort to rectify a technical issue you unexpectedly find yourself in while operating a friend’s new device or a borrowed stuff. *profuse sweating* 🤣🤣.
Once upon a time, I went into our church’s office to make some photocopy for immediate use with a newly installed photocopy machine. Everything was going well until I heard something that sounded like a big stone fell on the photocopy machine. It stopped working. Knowing that I had no knowledge of its operation. I was almost crying in fear. “Oh my goodness! Who sent me here?…” *the secretary was quite unfriendly. And there was no one around to help.
I remember praying seriously for everything to return to normal, when I stumbled upon the manual. *a loud sigh. I didn’t thank God until it was in good shape. 🙂.
I’d love to hear your own ignorance tale. 🙂😉
Customer service contact
Interestingly, we are not always left alone with a do-it-yourself booklet that’s filled with just instructions. The customer service contact section contains phone number(s), address and sometimes email addresses of agents, who could be of help.
We have Jesus, Heaven’s Hotline. And if there’s any personal service, expect to welcome the Holy Spirit, Heaven’s agents.
NOTE: the Bible was not written for man to just have a change of habits. God has revealed His mind hoping that we’ll grow to see through His eyes.
And we can only see through His eyes when we are in Him. When we come to the point of seeing through God’s eyes, the genuine Change becomes conspicuous to the world.
He wants us to get into a relationship with Him. Thus, the need for the Customer Service Contact. A means through which communication is enhanced.
Communication is key in relationship.
And the means are right before us. Prayer and the Word of God.
Praying and studying the Bible are not quite easy exercises, especially for beginners. I sometimes feel reluctant to do so. But then, what you start off as discipline can grow to become a lifestyle.