I grew up with an avid love for jigsaw puzzles. Watching a full picture unfold out of seemingly random bite-sized images is cool. The most important piece of the puzzle is the picture on the front of the box. This gives the entire framework for the puzzle you are trying to build. It is the blueprint. Trying to build a puzzle without it would be futile; it would be like trying to build a submarine without ever taking an Engineering class. The picture shows the fullness of what the little pieces will become, it lets you know that the puzzle actually is possible.
In church we are often challenged or encouraged to read our Bibles. Most of us are reading it wrong. We read it like we would look at individual puzzle pieces. If we only read the Bible for the tweet-able "nuggets," searching for idioms or large sweeping truths, but fail to live it out, we miss the full picture of what a life spent following God looks like. Reading the Bible but not living it out would be like assembling a puzzle without the cover picture.
Scripture: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27.
Not using the picture on the puzzle box doesn't make what the puzzle looks like any less accurate. Building your life on scripture and living it out is like assembling a puzzle using the picture on the cover of the box. It isn't cheating. Yes it takes work. But we are given the blueprint for building our lives on Christ. Why are we still scrambling, hoping to assemble the fullness of the picture without using the guide that shows us what it looks like?
Next steps: Get a Bible, read it with other people! Scripture was written to be read and interpreted in community. Ask: what does this passage say about God? What would it have meant at the time it was written? What does it mean for me now?