On a recent trip down to Pensacola to see the man (aka soon-to-be-husband), we went to lunch with his roommate, Ben and the roommate’s girlfriend, Jenny (now affectionately referred to as “Benny”). Ben is in the process of becoming a Naval Aviator and Jenny recently earned her masters as a Nurse practitioner. They’re an intelligent couple.
The four of us got to talking about ways that we try to keep Christ at the center of our relationship. Benny asked us “What do you two do to make sure that your relationship is Christ focused and God honoring?” Toby and I looked at each other and each replied. Our collective answer was that we encourage each other to make sure we are personally pursuing the Lord and our walk with Him as individuals. Making sure that we each remember that He is our priority has made growing closer to one another a simpler and joyous adventure. And as we seek Him separately, we have more to talk about and learn together.
We then reciprocated the question to Benny.
Jenny responded first and then Ben. It was Ben’s response that captured my attention and has since stuck with me. His answer went something like this.
“I’m finding that I need to truly know and apply the Word to my life in every circumstance. You know what has really shaped and taught me more about the importance of scripture in my life as of late? The NATOPS manual.”
He took a bite of his sandwich and I looked at Toby. I looked back at Ben.
“Can you explain that to me, please. I’m not sure I’m tracking.”
Ben went on. “NATOPS stands for “Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization.” In that manual resides everything we need to know in order to be pilots. How the aircraft functions, what different controls do, how to use the controls, and most importantly what to do in various cases of emergency. If I don’t know the definition and application of what is in the manual, I will fall right out of the sky. It’s the same with the Bible. If I don’t make the effort to learn what it says and how it instructs me to live, then I will fail in this life. It is critical that I spend time studying God’s word so that I prepared and able to live as He has called me to.”
And with that, he took another bite.
Weeks later, I am still convicted and challenged to treat my Bible as more than a story book. It is an instructional manual; it is the believer’s “how-to” book and we must drink and eat of it often for it is our soul’s only source of sustenance.