So there is it… a picture my archenemy this morning.
Yup folks, I was almost defeated by the pump dispenser on a face wash container. That brand new face wash dispenser that I COULD NOT OPEN.
As you can probably see, it comes with instructions.
And I followed those instructions. I turned that little tip counterclockwise over, and over, and over, and over and over again.
But it didn’t open.
So I thought, “Maybe I am turning it the wrong way. I know the arrow points to that way, but well, maybe it’s wrong.”
I turned it the other way, over and over and over and then the plastic made a creaking noise that said, “WRONG WAY!!! CUT THAT OUT!!”
I looked at the top directions again (getting annoyed now).
Time for a new technique or two: turn a few turns one way then a few turns the other way just in case (never mind that they likely just cancel each other out, I was getting desperate here). OR maybe… did the container need me to be more forceful with the turns, maybe that was it… nope.
When desperation kicks in we really do throw out all logic sometimes.
“Perhaps”, I debated, “it would be better to just open the container and bypass that stupid-pump-dispenser-that-doesn’t-even-open and just pour the face wash on my hands and proceed with washing (which is all I really wanted to do anyway).”
But logic got ahold of me.
I looked back at the cap and (with and audible sigh) I followed the turn instructions …
what seemed like 50 turns (I am sure it wasn’t) and the pump dispenser popped up!
And then the lesson hit me.
I do this with God. And I knew I needed to write this post because maybe you do too.
See, this morning, all I wanted was to follow the steps on the back of the bottle:
1- Dispense a small amount of face wash.
2- Massage gently on face into a later.
3- Thoroughly rinse.
I didn’t want to be bothered to mess with the first step: getting the pump dispenser open.
And, we do this with God too… there are many “steps” of life that we want to enjoy, things we want to accomplish, parts of ourselves we want to improve… but we don’t follow the first steps. Maybe we’ve given God’s way a try for a little while but it didn’t seem to work so we are willing to go it our own way. Perhaps we’re convinced the directions are wrong since they aren’t yielding the expected outcomes. Or… maybe we’re trying to get “the good stuff” from an alternate method.
Jesus was approached by a man and here is what he asked:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
I really understand this question. To me it says, “what does God really want from me?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What God wants from us: to love Him with all that we are and to love others as He loves us.
There is more than that, but IT ALL HANGS ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS!
We as people can get hung up on particular things we know God wants us to do (not lying, giving money generously, not stealing, being kind, having compassion, going to church, remembering to pray, study our Bible). Those things ARE important, they ARE… And there are desires on our heart of things we’d like to accomplish and ways we know we should behave…
But we have to follow the first instructions.
Just like in order to use my face wash I had to open the container… there are other commandments God places on our lives but they all HANG ON THE FIRST: loving God with all that we are and loving others like He loves us.
And sometimes, following those commandments seems like it isn’t working or like we’ve been doing it forever without results… and we’re willing to take shortcuts (like I wanted to just open the container and pour out the face wash and ignore the dispenser) or we’re convinced the instructions must be wrong or lacking and we have to do things another way.
I do that with God. What about you?
Micah 6:8 says,
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
If that is what God wants of me… what is GOOD… am I willing to follow those instructions?
Let the prayer of your heart today be that you follow the way God has for you: loving Him with all that you are and loving others… and TRUSTING that by doing those things everything else will follow!