The Box and the Instructions

My wife loves shopping at Ikea. For reasons I’ve yet to fully comprehend, I do not. The Ikea store is laid out like a series of showrooms with fully appointed bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and offices laid out in perfect fashion. An unimaginative shopper can go in and buy everything one would need to set up a room exactly as Ikea has laid it out—that’s not the part I hate. Unlike a traditional furniture store you don’t buy the models on the floor. Instead, you have to write down the bin number and then head to the warehouse where all of the furniture is boxed and in bins. You don’t simply buy a couch. You buy a bunch of boxes that contain everything you need to build the couch yourself. This is the part my wife loves, and I hate. I get overwhelmed seeing all the separate pieces and knowing that I have to figure out how it all goes together. The vision of the couch is beautiful, the process to get there is not. 

Thankfully, every box comes with a guide. The little piece of paper that tells you what part goes where and when, is indispensable. Without the instructions the contents of the box are nothing more than bits of wood, cloth, and metal. Armed with the instructions and some patience those same contents are transformed into something good and even beautiful. The furniture functions properly when each piece is put together the way the designer intended. 

Our lives can sometimes feel like the contents of those Ikea boxes. Psalm 119 celebrates God’s Word, because it reveals the character of God himself to us. His Law is not meant to restrict us from the good life, but to help us makes sense of this life and order it according to God’s good design for us. Once we come to realize this, we will respond to the Bible the way the Psalmist does. We will rejoice in its freedom (v 45), we will delight in its commands (v 47), we will find comfort in it (v 50), we will grow to love it (v 97), and we will devote our lives to understanding it and seeking to live according to it (v 104).

Take away the instructions from the Ikea box and you have a mess, take away the Word from your life and you will have a catastrophe. What are you doing tfhis week to seek to grow deeper in your understanding of God and his Word? Start by meditating on what you learned on Sunday, but don’t stop there. Read God’s Word, meditate on God’s Word, repent of ways you are out of step with God’s Word, and then pray for grace to consistently follow God’s Word. You will find that the Christian life is not the easy life, but it is the good and beautiful life that your heart is longing for. 


About Scott Dunford

Lead Church Planter at Redeemer Church of Silicon Valley and Director of West Coast Mobilization for ABWE International.
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