Sunday, February 26, 2017

Follow Instructions, Use as Directed

by Rhonda Rhea

If we actually follow the “lather, rinse, repeat” instructions on the shampoo bottle, won’t we end up stuck in a shower-time-loop for the rest of our lives?

Then again, if we read the directions on a lot of these products, we might instead just end up confused for the rest of our lives. Like the can of spray paint labeled, “Do not spray in your face.” Wow. Barely dodged that bullet.

Then there’s the blow dryer with the directions “Do not use while sleeping.” Again, whew—close one. And since we all seem to have such a difficult time figuring out how to grasp the complexities of the blow dryer, everyone will be relieved to know that there’s a blowtorch out there that actually says right on the label, “Not used for drying hair.”

I’m not sure why we’re especially confusable when it comes to getting good hair, but there’s also hair dye on a store shelf that gives the caution, “Do not use as ice cream topping.” And I thought I was a bad cook. I guess I must be at least better in the kitchen than some people because, believe it or not, there was actually a toaster that had to be labeled, “Do not use underwater.” Man. There goes all my underwater toast-making fun.

Even though I may never get to sit and enjoy my underwater toast, I’m okay with sticking to my convictions to remain a conscientious follower of directions. Lathering and re-lathering, it’s probably just a safer way to live. But so much more than any earthly directions, I want to do everything I can to ever-stick to my convictions to remain a conscientious follower of Christ.

In Matthew 4 we read about Jesus calling the first disciples to follow Him. “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a new into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him,” (Matthew 4:18-25, ESV).

Simple directions? Not really. To follow these instructions they had to first let go of what they held on to for security. They had to let go of most everything they knew. Even people they loved. Yet each of the four “immediately” left nets, boat, father—way of life—and followed.

It’s still His instruction to us today. Leave the things that used to bring you security. Leave the shiny distractions that once completely held your fancy. Leave the people you used to devote your time and energy and heart to. And follow.

Following Jesus in the complete abandon He calls us to is to enter into a surrender-loop for the rest of our lives. Love, follow, repeat.

Following Him. Lather or no lather, there’s no safer way to live. Really live. Even if you never obey the other labels. Though I have to tell you, I hate to imagine anybody failing to follow the directions on the mattress that read: “Do not attempt to swallow.”

Follow instructions, use as directed - wisdom from @RhondaRhea (Click to Tweet)

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for lots of great magazines, including HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and more. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. She and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ. Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of conferences and events. She and her pastor/hubs have five grown children and live in the St. Louis area.


  1. LOL! I've seen those crazy instructions, and you are like - really??? They have to tell us to NOT do that? I love your lead in to following the directions given by Jesus. Thanks for reminding us of this.

  2.! My Pastor yesterday talked about John 2:5 at the wedding of Cana, when Mary told the dudes, "Do whatever He tells you." period. that's what He says to us, "Do this." sounds so simple doesn't it!
    and ps, I've thought of that shampoo-time-loop quandary several times!

    1. Robin! Where were you when I was writing this?? :) Next time I'm thinking we'll just need to meet up and write it together. Your pastor can come too, lol. Thanks for your kindness and for chiming in. This is brilliant.