Select Page

The Afghan

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Direction, Obedience, Word of God

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6 NIV)

Somewhat new to knitting, I was trying my best to figure out a pattern for a pretty baby afghan. I worked it up seven rows, ripped it all out, then very carefully worked it up three rows, which was the first row of the pattern. I even put in spacers and used a counter, just like my excellent knitting teach, aka my late mom, taught me. But alas! I arrived at the end of row three and it still didn’t come out right! I carefully counted the stitches between all the spacers, they were all correct, but the total number of stitches for the row was off by about five… How could I have lost five stitches???

Frustrated I put it away for the night, only to pick it up in the night when I couldn’t sleep. I went back to the beginning of the infamous row three, and carefully compared what I had done, stitch by stitch, to the directions. Knit 2, Increase, Knit 4, slip stitch, knit two together, pass over, knit four, increase twice … Wait. It said to increase … twice??? I ripped out the row once again and reknitted it. This time I was sure to increase twice at all the right places. Anyone surprised that it came out right, with the right number of stitches?

Why hadn’t I done it right before? Because I quickly read the instructions and worked from memory, without continually going back to check and see if what I had done was right. How important it is to read and reread the instructions … every step of the way!

This reminds me of another set of instructions, the Book of all books, given to us by the loving hand of God Himself.

First of all, do we read it?

I think that most of us do. But do we really read it? Or do we just go through it briefly and then proceed to work from memory?

I think that to be perfectly honest, most of us fall in that category. We have heard the Bible stories and the Biblical instructions so often that it has become mundane. It doesn’t mean anything to us. And besides, it was written 2-4 thousand years ago. How could it possibly have any relevance to us today?

Let’s take the commands against adultery and fornication, for example. The world has accepted that couples live together before marriage. In fact, the world does not understand a couple who refuse to do so. And yes, this has crept into the church! We have become so conditioned to this that we turn a blind eye. And this causes problems. The row just doesn’t come out right. We have the scenario for a Christian couple where one pressures the other to live together, and the other can be heavily criticized for not complying. Maybe it isn’t about fornication at all. Maybe it is simply a matter of finances, of security. Maybe one doesn’t feel safe living alone in a secure place, and sharing the rent/mortgage would make the finances come out right. Maybe this couple even agrees that this is purely a platonic living arrangement. Hey, it keeps the letter of the law, doesn’t it? After all, the Bible never says a couple who aren’t married can’t live together, does it?

Friends, the first two times I did my infamous row three, I also upheld the letter of the pattern. Or at least I thought I did. But I didn’t check the instructions. I only went from memory. And it didn’t come out right. When we make compromises on God’s Word, it doesn’t come out right either.

What is the solution? We need to do what I did on that afghan pattern: We need to go back and carefully read and reread the Instruction Manual until we understand … Not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well!

Going back to our example above, no, the Bible doesn’t ever say, “Thou shalt not live together if you aren’t married”. But the Bible says lots of other things. It says adultery and fornication are wrong (See 1 Cor. 6:9-10); it says that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (See 1 Thes. 5:22); it says that there are grave consequences for causing someone else to sin (See Romans 14:13-23); it says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are to glorify God with our bodies (See 1 Cor. 6:19-20), etc.

I could go on, and this is only one tiny example. The point is, just like I needed to go back to the instructions for my afghan and I needed to read them thoroughly, we need to do the same with God’s Word. For when we do so, and we choose to follow what it says, things will turn out right!

In His love,

Lyn Chaffart
Associate Director, Moderator, Answers2Prayer Ministries