Follow the Instructions
Over two years ago, the congregation I worship with and preach for decided to replace our sign in the front yard. It was an easy decision since the old one had been annihilated by a tornado months before.

The sign we ordered looked great, served our purpose well, and was reasonably priced. However, there was a problem with the installation. The posts that were buried in the ground were loose. When a strong wind blew, the sign moved back and forth and was not stable.

I happened to be present when the new sign was being installed. I realized, after the fact, what the problem was. The sign installer took a shortcut. After digging the holes and dropping in the sign posts, he poured cement mix powder around the posts (instead of mixing the powder with water first). I asked him about it at the time. He affirmed that the powder would absorb moisture from the ground and solidify, holding the posts firmly. I, being inexperienced with cement, didn't question his answer at the time.

It was true that the powder did draw moisture and become hard eventually, but it didn't harden tightly around the posts or hold them firmly in place (probably because the wind had already moved the posts around so much while the cement was hardening). The sign installer should not have taken the shortcut that he did. True, it was easier to just pour in powder and not bother with taking the time and effort to mix the cement properly, but ultimately, that did not get the job done properly. He didn't follow the instructions.

The mistake was fixable--with some effort. The hard, loose chunks of cement were dug up and properly mixed cement was poured in and quickly hardened tightly around the posts.

There are many things in life that have to be done a second time if the directions aren't followed properly the first time (e.g., taxes, assembly instructions for toys, etc.). There are some things, however, that can't be fixed if they aren't done right the first time (e.g., skydiving, raising children, etc.). Because of these truths, we should never be in such a rush to get something done that we aren't willing to take the time to do it properly initially. One will save time in the long run (not to mention a lot of headaches) by doing things right the first time. This is an undeniable truth in both the physical and spiritual realms.

I believe that in order to obtain eternal life with God, we must follow the instructions--His instructions. The wonderful news is that God has given us the necessary instructions in the Scriptures. "His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (II Pet. 1:3). Everything that we need to know to have eternal life with Him has been given to us, but we must follow His instructions! We can't take shortcuts with our salvation! We won't get a second chance after death to make things right; we've got to get it right the first time (cf. Heb. 9:27)!

Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God spoke the following words to Joshua - "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" (Josh. 1:7,8). The principles that were true for Joshua are still true today for God's children. Success comes from meditating in God's word and observing all that is written in it (for those of us living today, specifically the New Testament)!

Do you anticipate eternal life with God at the end of your earthly life? You should if you are you faithfully following the instructions! However, if you haven't obeyed the gospel or if you are presently living in sin, what real hope do you have for everlasting life? Friends, study God's word so you can know His instructions for your life, and then do all that you can to follow those instructions daily--you won't regret it! Please contact us if we can help you follow the Lord's instructions.