Otherwise known as the Bible. I promised to obey Jesus at my baptism. One way of doing this must be to follow his recommendations, as set out in the Bible. I know that trying to live without faith (deliberately not following the instructions) can lead to One Big Mess. I’ve been there more than once in the last five years. But, even when I am not willfully disobeying the instructions, I still have problems with them. I took my Bible away with me to a conference last week, because past experience suggests that I feel closer to God and want more to be in touch with Him when I am in unfamiliar surroundings, and on my own. Last week was no exception. I read from Ephesians, Chapter 4:
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
In part, this instruction is simple enough, and woefully appropriate given the issues I have with anger, and bitterness (I am well-versed in bearing grudges). Not grieving the Holy Spirit, though. That could mean myriad different things. Unpacking that could take a very long time, and then, when I had come to some understanding of what that means, how could I be sure that I was following the instruction? Please understand that I am not trying to be awkward. My background is in science, where clear, unambiguous expression is paramount, and multiple interpretations are avoided and challenged. I don’t know what to do with multiple possible interpretations of the Bible’s instructions.