Calvin Who?

Calvin CoolidgeTeaching children is always an adventure. You never know what they’re going to say next.

The other day, I was teaching Ellie history (she is homeschooled). She had read a particular section of the chapter, and I was quizzing her about it. We came to one question where the answer was supposed to be Calvin Coolidge.

Oh, I know!” she said. “That’s Calvin, uh, Calvin What’s-his-name…I know! Calvin Klein!”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Her error was easily corrected, as I explained who both men were and that she should have said Calvin Coolidge.

The fact that she got the two confused rather amused me. I found it funny that, when pressed to think of “Calvin’s” last name, she came up with the name of a clothing manufacturer instead of the name of our former President.

Getting an answer wrong in history class can be funny. What’s not so humorous, however—not at all, actually—is when we don’t know the right answer to other, more important questions.

As Christians, we are to live our lives in accordance with God’s standards. That means we have to know what those standards are. We need to be able to answer questions we’ll all encounter, such as Is it okay to be snarky to someone who made me mad? (No.) Is it okay to be kind only to the people I really like? (No.) Did God really mean that I need to be faithful to my marriage vows and loving to my husband and children? (Yes.)

So how are we going to know what the right answer is in a particular situation? It’s dangerous just to wait until the situation occurs and then go with whatever our emotions tell us is right. Emotions can be greatly deceptive, and we run a risk—sometimes a huge one—when we allow them to be the arbiters of what we should do.

Instead, we need to ingrain God’s answers to these questions into our minds, so that when the situation arises, we aren’t at a loss as to what’s the right thing to do. And the best way to know what God says in regards to the decisions we must make is to look at His revealed Word, the Bible.

In the Bible, God lays out for us all the principles we need in order to know what kind of conduct is right and pleases Him. He gives us all the answers to our moral questions. Do the kind thing. Do the loving thing. Put others first. Granted, He doesn’t always tell us exactly how to apply these principles in every situation we face. But He does give us these answers. When someone snaps at us, we already know what the answer is: we’re supposed to respond lovingly. All that’s left to do is ask God for the application. Exactly what does being loving look like in this situation?

Or when someone tempts us to sin, we know we’re supposed to flee temptation. We don’t have to ask whether or not that’s the right answer; we already know that it is. All we have to do is ask God what fleeing looking like in our particular situation.

Do you know what God says to us in His Word? Are you familiar with the principles He’s laid out in the Bible? Do you already know the answers He’s provided you even before you ask?

If not, you need to spend more time studying the pages of Scripture. God has provided answers to some of our most commonly asked questions, and you should want to know what those answers are. He’s provided solutions to some of our most frequent or irritating problems, and if you know what He’s said, you’ll be a lot better able to deal with them.

Yes, you might still have to ask Him for some specifics in how to apply His answers, but make sure you at least know what those answers are. By giving them to you, He’s given you a leg up on every situation you will ever face.

Take advantage of that.

Psalm 119:97— Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. (NIV)

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