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Core 52 - Week 50 - Scripture

It was the summer of 1988. I had just turned 15 years old that late July and had already begun reading through the Florida Driver’s License Handbook. It was time for that traditional rite of passage for every fifteen year old – testing for your driver’s learner’s permit.  So much freedom – driving behind the wheel, and yet so restrictive – having your mom or dad in the seat next to you pounding on the floor as they search frantically for a brake pedal that simply does not exist.

I had gotten a copy of the handbook a few weeks prior to my birthday in hopes of taking my test as close to my fifteenth birthday as I could.  I skimmed over it and read through it quickly, watching for boldface words, drawings, charts and bullet point lists knowing they must be the important parts every driver must know.  I breezed through the pages with all the road signs – I could have passed that part way back in third grade! Going into the test, I knew there were twenty questions on road signs (please, …too easy!!) and twenty more questions for the written test in a multiple choice format (multiple choice, that means the answer is right in front of you! How easy can it be?!?!).

Needless to say, I was a bit overconfident in my approach to the test (Did I mention the fact I never even read the chapters about drinking and drugs and their effects on driving? I didn’t do either of those so I figured I didn’t need to know it). I passed the road signs with 100%. I failed the written test with 70%.

I could go into detail about my hormone driven teenage overreaction and how it resulted in my study book being ripped up into 6,345,217 pieces, but I’ll spare you the gory details. I had failed to execute a complete study of all the information I needed to pass the test. The result was a failure to obtain my learner’s permit which then kept me from gaining much needed experience that would transform me into a safe and trustworthy driver.

I did not learn the information, which led to a failure of transformation.

The same could be said about the Bible.  Have you ever faced a situation where you didn’t know the answer to a faith related question – either from your own mind or your curious friend or neighbor? Have you spent too much time in a particular section or book of the Bible because it contains your favorite parts? Do you recall the stories from years gone by and think that’s enough and you’ve got those parts covered? I know I’ve done that – too many times to count. I love Paul’s pastoral epistles – Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, but sometimes feel overwhelmed by the deeper doctrinal discussions of 1 & 2 Corinthians. So, guess what I spend more time reading? Yep, love me some Colossians!!

The problem with all of this is that we fail to gather enough information to create a complete transformation. We can’t pick and choose the parts of the Bible we feel are important (maybe, …the Gospels???), while neglecting those we don’t feel are as important (has anyone actually ever read the entire book of Numbers? Job? Lamentations?)? By not capturing the complete story of God and His rescue plans for man – including all the gory details, dreadful failures, well deserved punishments and poetic proclamations, we miss out on all the information that can lead to a more complete transformation.

Let’s make the most what we have in the word of God. Let’s try our best to read, learn and understand as much of the information so that it can lead to a complete transformation. Remember what James, the brother of Jesus, said in his letter, “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!” (James 1:22). In other words, don’t just read and learn the information, do what it says so that it will transform you into the person God created you to be.

By the way, I eventually took the time to read all of the Driver’s Handbook and passed the test to receive my permit. Then, I took that information and put it to use as I was transformed into the safest driver in my entire family (just don’t tell my wife I said that! :).

- Pete Ramsey