We all seen them. The titles grab our attention because they at first appear to be insulting; that is until we realize why they are written.
What I am refereeing to is the popular “For Dummies” book series. They are instruction and reference books with which beginners in any area of interest can get simple, practical step by step instruction and information without looking dumb.
By simply reading and applying the lessons and instructions to our lives, we can become an “advanced novice” without coming across as a dummy.
I thought to myself; “There should be one for Christians who want to know how to behave”, because sometimes we (as Christians) are afraid that if we ask we will look like a dummy.
It turns out there is one. I am not referring to the book titled “Christianity For Dummies”. I am referring to what Paul wrote to the new up-and-coming church in the Middle Eastern region of the world.
Paul spells out a fairly simple “How to Behave Like a Christian For Dummies”. Here is an excerpt from a couple of instructional pages:
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.
Run for dear life from evil.
Hold on for dear life to good.
Be good friends who love deeply.
Practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.
Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.
Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.
Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy;
Share tears (with your friends) when they’re down.
Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.
Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone.
If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.
Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. Let God do the judging and take care of things.
If you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
(From Romans 12:9-21)
Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
· Quiet strength
Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.
· It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.
· Never be without it.
Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.
Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.
Sing, sing your hearts out to God!
Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
(From Colossians 3:12-17)
My personal belief is that if Christians would read this simple instruction from Paul and apply it to their daily lives, the world will be a much better place to live.
And we get instruction and are able to live this without looking like dummies!
All Scripture taken from The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson