When all else fails, read the instructions

By Dr. James Spinnati


“Read the instructions”; I can hear my wife as she tried to direct me down the right “path” for a quieter Christmas Eve. Why would it have been quieter? It would have been if I wouldn’t have thrown the instructions down while proclaiming, “I don’t need these; I am smart enough to put this Erector Set together on my own!” After hours of frustration, yelling, and looking for a hammer to annihilate the Christmas gift I wish I would have listened to her as I tried to finish; so I could get some much needed sleep before the kids woke up on Christmas morning! Why am I bringing this up? I am doing it because I am not alone. Yes I have learned my lesson but many are still trying to “get her done” on their own. To prove my point; recently I had a manager of an electronics store tell me a story about a woman that came into his store just set to rake him and the store “over the coals” about a product she had recently purchased. He told me that a woman who bought a new cell phone returned it only a few days after she made the purchase. She wanted to speak to the manager and she wanted to see him “right now”! When he approached her he told me that before he could even open his mouth she began to complain angrily about the phone. She said that she was having all kinds of problems with it and it would not work at all and it was a piece of junk. She said, “I have tried everything in my power to get it to work and it just won’t do it”. She further stated that she had spent hours of her valuable time doing something that should have been done by the manufacturer and the electronic store.

He told me that after he had calmed her down to a reasonable level he asked her, “Have you read the instruction book that came with the phone yet to find out what it says to do?” Taken back by his question she hung her head and sheepishly replied, “No I just tried to turn it on and it didn’t work”. After much wrangling she agreed to take the cell phone home and read through the instructions first before demanding that it should be replaced with a new one. He told me with a laugh that he called the woman the next day to ask how the cell phone was working and to see if he could be of further assistance. After speaking with her the woman told him, “It works fine. I went by the book instead of trying to fix it myself. It’s working great now.” As her voice lowered she added, “I didn’t know you had to charge the battery first!”

Many Christians have the same trouble in their own lives—they have trouble following the Book! Half of the books in the Bible can be read in less than 45 minutes, and many of them can be read in less than 20 minutes. I have heard it said that the Old and New Testaments can be read aloud in less than 72 hours and yet people want the “quick fix”. What is the “quick fix”? The “quick fix” is the fact that many people want an answer even before they have asked a question. Some of my students at the Sonshine School of Evangelism are the same way; they don’t want to spend the time in research and study time; they just want me to give them the answer!

Listen, any believer who seeks direction and guidance in life must look in the instruction book; the Bible. Remember, God provided His Word—the instruction manual—for us to live and learn by. We as the children of the King of kings are commanded to study it, meditate on its principles, and gain wisdom from its truths. Brother and sister; that takes work. It will take time out of your day but add days and years to your life. So here is my advice for you today; whatever situation you may be going through, the Bible is the answer book. It is the number one source of peace and grace that can and will solve the problems and relationships of this life; but first YOU HAVE TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!


By Dr. James Spinnati


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