The Value of a Good Foundation
Never underestimate the value of a good foundation! I’m a crafter. My preferred craft is crochet, but I’ll entertain other options from time to time. When I was younger and had better eyesight, I loved to make doilies out of very fine thread with a very tiny hook. If you’ve ever made a doily—or have one that your mother or grandmother made, you’ll notice that they are very geometric. Typically a section of a few stitches is repeated several times on each round, with every round building on the one(s) below. If you have made a mistake on a previous row, you may find yourself having to rip out hours of work to fix that mistake before you can go forward. That’s frustrating, but necessary!
Every crochet project begins with the foundation row or round. And getting that foundation right is critical. If you have too many or too few stitches, if you have miscounted or misunderstood the instructions, you may find yourself redoing that foundation several times before you can finally begin to build on it. Get the foundation right, and your chances of getting the rest right go way up. Get it wrong, and you may be tempted to scrap the project; to just give up.
Where am I going with this? It occurred to me a few years ago how much crochet is like the Christian life. You have the pattern (we’ll equate that to Scripture), the hook (I’ll call that the Holy Spirit who “will teach you everything and remind you of everything [Jesus] told you” John 14:26), and you have the raw material of your life (the yarn or thread). Throughout your life as a believer you must use that pattern, as it is applied to your life by the Holy Spirit, to help you shape your life (yarn) into the kind of person who truly reflects the image of God.
But Ground Zero, the foundation, the place you must begin in order to end up as “one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed,” is by “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), in other words, the Bible. The way you avoid falling into sin is by hiding God’s word in your heart “that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Why not give yourself a gift in 2021 by resolving to spend some time in the Bible every day? Become familiar with the pattern God has laid out for your life. We have a reading plan at our website (jabible.org), aptly titled “The Word,” that may be a good place to begin. Other options are available at biblegateway.com or in the back of some study Bibles.
But don’t just read to say you’ve read. All you will end up with is a collection of patterns, and perhaps a yarn stash. Instead, each day as you begin your reading ask the Holy Spirit to work the Scripture into your life. Ask Him to reveal to you where you have made a mistake that needs to be corrected. Pay attention to the pattern He is working into your life so you will reflect the “plans I have for you,… plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)!
PS. All analogies fail at some point, especially if pushed too far, so forgive me if I’ve gone too far.