I learned to knit about four years ago. I shared a long ride with a knitter who happened to bring an extra pair of needles and yarn and graciously taught me. It was not pretty. My fingers were stiff like sticks and I knitted so tightly my project resembled carpet.
Perseverance paid off thanks to a few friends who patiently helped me fix my many mistakes. I have now knitted several pieces that I have not been too embarrassed to give as gifts.
Recently, I knitted a scarf for my aunt’s birthday. The yarn and pattern were so pretty that I eagerly began this project only to be dismayed with every row I finished. I thought it would eventually look like the picture if I kept at it. Not so. I ripped it out and tried again only to come to the same conclusion. Once more, I ripped out and started over. No improvement. This happened six or seven times.
Finally, I got out my instructions and carefully read them. Duh. Why did I not do this earlier? There it was, that one little line that I had earlier breezed over thinking I knew already what I was doing. If I had read the instructions to begin with I might have finished it on time. Thankfully, my 87 year old aunt lived to happily receive and appreciate her belated gift.
I think we’ve all had similar experiences. Maybe with a recipe, assembling a piece of furniture or a child’s bike that came in a box.
In our pride we toss instructions aside or speed read past certain steps. Granted, some instructions are so poorly written that we are better off tossing them. But God has given us His perfect Word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. The 119th Psalm tells us in 176 verses how love for God’s law is immeasurably beneficial to us. Obeying it is the secret to happiness, peace and contentment. Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they who love your law and nothing can make them stumble.
When I started my aunt’s scarf I was frustrated because it never looked like the picture in the pattern. Does my life resemble the picture of righteousness in Scripture? If we want to live godly lives we must follow His instructions. Like the psalmist we must love God’s law, not just robotically and legalistically follow it.
Love God. Love your neighbor. This is the law in a nutshell, but if we really want lives that reflect our Savior we need to know what this looks like. Our society has its own definition of love that is very different than God’s. But Scripture is clear:
1 John 5:3 This is love for God; to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.
We are not saved by obeying the law of God but only by trusting in Christ who gives us life. But once we do that we must walk in a way that pleases God.
James 1:25 (NASB) But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Had I intently read my instructions I would have given this gift in a timely manner. Yet in my pride I ignored those oh, so important, words. May we humble ourselves and look intently at God’s perfect law, and love it and obeying it. Let’s not ignore God’s law. The consequences are far worse than ripping out a few rows of knitting.