I loved Legos growing up. My brother and sister and I would build things for hours. We would have massive battles as we slowly spread our armies around our room and enacted warfare. We would build castles and fortresses and Legos were a regular Christmas or birthday request. Each Lego set comes with an instruction manual for constructing the purchase. Sometimes the next piece needed was a small one, but without it the rest of the thing couldn’t be finished right. Sometimes it was a piece that wouldn’t allow any other progress, and sometimes it was a piece that would just affect the final product. We would comb through all the pieces slowly looking for the one piece that was required.
Legos are not the only things in life that require all the pieces. Building a house is the grown-up equivalent of playing with Legos. The stakes are higher because you can’t build a house with missing pieces. A Lego house without 4 walls is acceptable. A real house without four walls exposes all within to the elements. The more real and serious something is the more important it is to have all the pieces.
The most important and real aspect of life is the spiritual life we live. The Scriptures say we wrestle not against flesh and blood. The daily life we live is a spiritual one. How damaging is it then when we are missing pieces to this aspect of our life?
There are two obvious ways in which we plan to miss pieces of our spiritual life that God has intended for us. They are in God’s instruction manual. First, verses, chapters, and books of the Bible aren’t preached or taught within the church. Almost every pastor knows the admonition to declare the entire counsel of God, but few do. This is seen in several pastors as a tendency to preach the same thing every week. They use different texts for the same few messages over and over. Sometimes there are entire books of the Bible that get skipped – Song of Solomon anyone? We get the same result when verses are preached out of context or misinterpreted. We are missing pieces of what God has given us.
God is not whimsical and superfluous. He is purposeful and articulate. He didn’t give us extra verses. He gave us just the right amount. He didn’t make a mistake by including hard chapters in the Bible. He gave us hard chapters because it is a necessary piece to living full lives. We miss out in so many ways. I was speaking to a friend on this the other day. One of his thoughts was that people tend to shy away from preaching the hard topics because they hope that they can leave the door open for those people to come back when they are in trials. I would submit that the congregation is suffering because of this. When a hard topic is avoided due to possibly estranging some, others are missing the God-given required pieces for complete lives.
By way of example, one hard topic that I feel has been handled wickedly in the past and is now being handled too gently because of that is the issue of submission. Women have been beat over the head with a false sense of what this means and men have been excused of their poor/horrible treatment of their wives and families under this heading. However, the Bible does have many very clear statements on submission. This piece as given by God has been warped and twisted one way, and is now being warped the other way. And this is just one example.
The second obvious way in which we miss pieces in our lives is when we neglect the pieces personally through our own reading and study of Scripture. It is the responsibility of the pastor and teacher to rightly divide the word of truth. But it is also your responsibility and mine. We are to search the Scriptures daily. We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. We are to do this.
We have set up a metric of reading our Bible through in a year with a reading plan. And we think this is a good metric because of how many named “christians” who are shocked at the thought of reading it all. But how many pieces are we missing because we don’t even stick to that simple plan? I speak from experience. I have started on plans and not finished. I have come to the end of years recognizing my failure to spend much time in God’s Word that year. By God’s grace I was able to read His Word through last year, but for me, I feel inadequate with that knowing how little time it takes to accomplish that. When we look at 365 days of 2013, how much time have we really spent with God? We have 365 days this year. How much time will we spend finding the pieces God has given to make our lives full and complete? How much time will we spend studying the manual to make sure the pieces are in the correct place and which pieces apply to us?
Building a Lego with many pieces may be a slow process, but the pieces are meant to fit together well. God designed our lives to fit together seamlessly when we have the all the pieces in the right spots. It takes time to learn the pieces and put it together, but it is amazing how detailed God really is. Sometimes we think of Him as just up there saying “Do right” and then we try to figure it out. God is detailed for us. He lays it out for us. Life is really quite simple with far less mystery when we have the pieces God intended for us. Study the manual. Find out what the pieces are, which ones belong to you, and how they are made to fit into your life. God designed us, and the pieces for a purpose. Like puzzle pieces, they have a purposeful spot. Find that spot and apply it. Then be amazed at how awesome our God is that could do all this so perfectly.