Don’t Cut Corners, Study Your Handbook

“You should see it,” Mikey told his scout buddies. “Its handle is striped with different woods, and it’s hefty. And… it comes with a sheath to hang on your belt.”

“Neat!” The guys said.

“Wish I could get one. Is it a real Boy Scout knife?” One asked.

“Yeah. It has the emblem right on the blade and on the sheath snap too. It’s so cool,” Mikey replied.

“You know you can’t bring that to the scout meetings until you get your Totin Chip,” an older boy said.

“What’s a Totin Chip?” Mikey asked.

“It’s a card you get after going through a Totin Chip class. The class tells you how to handle a knife, an axe and a saw. You have to have your Totin Chip card with you to use any of those tools at a campout,” The older boy explained.

Mikey took the classes, and the scout leader issued him a Totin Chip before the next campout. Mikey strutted with his sheathed scout knife hanging from his belt and looked for an opportunity to use it. At the campout, the scouts worked on knot tying, and Mikey decided to cut his rope in half. He held the rope in a loop over his thigh, then stuck his blade through the loop to cut the rope.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you doing?” The patrol leader asked.

Mikey paused, “I’m cutting my rope in half so I can have two for knot tying.”

“Take a look where that knife is headed once it slices through the rope,” the scout suggested.

“My leg?” Mikey asked.

“Yep. Always cut away from your body.  Give me your Totin Chip,” the patrol leader said.

“You’re not taking it away, are you?” Mikey panicked.

“No, but I’m cutting off a corner. If you mess up three more times, we’ll take the card away, and the only way to earn it back is to teach the next Totin Chip class,” the boy said. “Study your handbook to review how to use your knife properly.”

The word of God is sharper than any knife we own. It is likened to a double edged sword. Jesus wielded scripture to defend and counter attack Satan’s temptations while Jesus fasted in the wilderness. Satan used scripture, a sneaky camouflage, to tempt Jesus, but Jesus recognized Satan’s motive and misuse of scripture. Jesus rebuffed Satan with a relevant scripture.

Like Jesus, we use Bible verses to defend ourselves and to lay open motives.

“…Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.…” Ephesians 6:17b

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:11-12 (13)

Scripture, like knives or swords, must be wielded as intended, or we can hurt ourselves or others. To use scripture rightly, we must study it and become acquainted with all of it. We may not hold seminary degrees, but resources abound for us. Like the scouts, our churches offer classes on wielding our spiritual blades correctly. God gave us a handbook for life, Jesus embodied it, and the Holy Spirit teaches us through it.

In the PDF for this week’s Lenten meditation, Week 4/ The Word, Our Sword and Bread of Life, March 14-18, I list tips for studying and memorizing God’s Sword of the Spirit, the Word.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Cut Corners, Study Your Handbook”

  1. Suzy, I love the knife story illustrating how we must be able to wield the “sword of the spirit” appropriately so we don’t hurt others! Thanks for your pdf tips as well. Memorization and recall seems harder for me as the years go by.

  2. Suzy, this story helps me & encourages me in a number of ways. I have asked the Holy Spirit to give me the right words to speak to others & to write. I have come a long way from what I used to be like & it is the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, Who has softened my heart & helped me with my Christian walk. This story sure does enforce my thoughts, words & actions, so thank you for it. Blessings to you!!

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