The LORD loves His children, and wants to bless them in every area of their lives, but that doesn’t mean we will never face problems. On the contrary, we know Satan hates God, and being he can’t hurt God, then he goes after those who love God. And if you love the LORD, then you’re one of the devil’s favorite targets. He is an “equal opportunity” destroyer alright, meaning he would as soon kill, steal and destroy everything you have as anyone else’s stuff, but like I said, if you love the LORD, then he will treat you more “equal” than the rest.

And many of God’s kids think their heavenly Father has left them all alone to face the devil’s onslaughts by the way they talk. “Oh, woe is me! I just don’t know what I’m going to do! The devil is attacking me on every side!” REALLY?

I guess you haven’t read your “owner’s manual” very well, maybe you’ve just hit the high spots, ignoring the “details”, like most people do when they buy a new product or a new car. They usually just dive in and start using whatever it is they just got, and never study all the features and options they have available to use. I’m sure you know people like that.

And then when a little problem arises, they blame it on the manufacturer, when the truth is, 99% of the problems can be fixed or avoided altogether by JUST READING THE INSTRUCTIONS! So after fussing and bawling and squalling, they go look for the instructions, hoping they didn’t throw them away. But do you know something? Just having the instructions available doesn’t solve everything. You have to READ AND OBEY THEM!

Our problems in life as a child of God can be fixed or avoided by following the instructions set out by the Manufacturer (God). But we like to take the “long way home” by following our OWN instructions that we come up with in our mind.
I’ll use an example out of Matthew 14:14-33, it’s a bit long, but I want you to see why it’s important to follow the LORD’S instructions.

14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

When the multitude needed food, Jesus had a plan, but it sure didn’t make sense to the disciples, after all, how can you feed a multitude with five loaves of bread and two fishes? Human wisdom tells us the loaves would have had to as big as a bus, and the fish as whales, but the weren’t, because the disciples were carrying them around. When God gives us instructions, they seldom if ever make sense to us, because God thinks on a much larger scale than we do. They ended up feeding about five thousand men, PLUS women and children.

Then later on, while Jesus was on a mountain praying alone after He sent the disciples ahead of himself on their boat, the devil stirred up a mighty storm to destroy them. Well, most of these guys on the boat were fishermen, and they had seen a storm or two in their days, but this one was different, and the wind was contrary, and the waves were high, and they were in serious trouble. And then along comes Jesus WALKING ON THE WATER! First they were frightened as if they had seen a ghost. I guess we would be, too! But when Jesus identified himself, Peter came up with a solution to bouncing around on a sinking ship, he said, “Lord, if it be you, bid me come to you on the water.” What if it had been the devil? “Yeah, Peter, come on!” Blub, blub, one down, eleven more to go, right?

But it WAS Jesus, what else could He say but “COME”? That wasn’t likely what Jesus would have preferred, but He let Peter have his way. Well, we know the rest of the story, how Peter walked on the water to within arm’s length of Jesus when he realized, HEY! YOU CAN’T WALK ON THE WATER WHEN IT’S WINDY! And it says he “began” to sink. Have any of you ever stepped off the edge of a pool onto the water and “began” to sink, as in slowly sinking as your faith went south?

Peter cried out to Jesus, SAVE ME!, and Jesus reached out and caught him and said to him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? There is a prime example of “taking the long way home”. Peter could have simply taken Jesus at His Word and enjoyed his stroll on the water with Jesus. However, in Peter’s defense, I must say, all the others stayed in the boat, and only Peter got out to walk on the water. It would seem to me that after seeing Peter get out of the boat and walk on the water, that the others would have, too. But they didn’t, only Peter. They didn’t get it, apparently, that Jesus was Lord over all, even over the water. They, like most of us, were also taking “the long way home”.

No matter how incredulous the LORD’S instructions may seem to us at the time, we need to remember, HE IS GOD, and NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HIM! And when we are in Him, nothing is impossible to us, either. We can keep going around and around the same old mountain of unbelief all of our lives, taking the long way home, OR, we can take Him at His Word and believe and obey His promises, and take the SHORTCUT home. It’s really up to you, but if you’re smart, you’ll get out your “instruction manual”, the Holy Bible, and study it like your life depends upon it, because, actually it DOES! And when problems arise because you’re a child of God, you will already have the solution down inside of you, having read the instructions.

Do yourself a favor: stop taking the long way home. There’s a better way!