Elephants never forget, right? That’s what people say, at least. I think it has something to do with how they can remember places and locations like traditional walking paths and burial grounds. Apparently, they just have really good memories. And that’s more than I can say for some of us human types.
People forget things all the time. I forget things all the time. I get so bogged down and crazy in my day that I forget all sorts of things, and even when I write down the things I want to remember, I usually end up forgetting something anyway. Best example is when I go grocery shopping. I will make my list out, and then I’ll forget my list. Or even if I don’t forget the list, somehow I still end up forgetting something I really really needed.
Why is that? Me, I think I’m scatterbrained. I know I’m busy. I think it’s a lack of focus too. There’s so much going on that it’s difficult to concentrate on just one thing. But sometimes concentration is what we need to make sure that we don’t forget something truly important.
Today’s verse is James 1:25.
But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
I think people forget (or maybe they never knew) that the Bible is an instruction book on how to live. It’s not just a collection of old stories that talk about God and miracles and people who dressed funny and floods and catastrophes. It’s one big story about how to live–and how not to live–and about the consequences people who made really poor choices had to face.
It’s full of wisdom. Practical wisdom. Step-by-step instructions on how to get through a day in some instances. But people don’t think about that. Even Christians get it in their heads that the Bible is a book we use to convince people that Jesus is God. And that’s true. The Bible does offer evidence that Christ is God. And the Bible offers all sorts of evidence about its own viability. But the Bible isn’t just a body of evidence. It’s God’s direct words, spoken to you and to me to teach us how to live and how to have a relationship with Him.
You can read technical articles and biographies about great Christians and 12-step programs about how to clean your life up all day long, but nothing else will teach you how to get close to God better than the Bible. And it works the same way as all those other books: you have to read it, you have to do what it says, and you have to keep doing what it says.
That’s it. Just like any other instruction book.
What good is an instruction book if you don’t read it? What good will it do you if you don’t do the things it tells you to do? If you’re building a table and it tells you to put Leg B into Slot B and you decided you want to put Leg F in Slot B, your table is going to look funky. Why? Because you didn’t follow the instructions.
No one gets upset at the instructions when they don’t follow them and their project doesn’t turn out. They just realize that they didn’t follow them. But when we don’t read the Bible and our lives go crazy, we turn on God and claim He doesn’t love us. What? How can He not love us? He gave us an instruction book. It was our choice not to apply it in our lives. And we have to face the consequences of that choice when things don’t turn out the way we expected.
The Bible is here for us. God gave it to us so we can know how to live.
Do what it says.
And keep doing what it says. Don’t forget. Don’t set it aside like a checklist or a grocery list like it’s something so unimportant that you can remember it without effort–because you probably can’t.
And God says He’ll bless you for it.