The Right Tool Makes All the Difference


My husband probably wouldn’t agree, but I can do just about anything with a hammer and a screwdriver.  I’ve managed to build some great bookshelves and beautify a good number of the walls in my house with just those simple tools.

I’ve been asking for my own tool set for years now. I like the pink ones. I don’t need anything real fancy or comprehensive, just the basics. Most of the pink kits I’ve seen come with a hammer, a screwdriver, a measuring tape, a level, and a few screws and nails. I dream about what I could do with such a set of tools…which is probably why my husband refuses to let me get one.

Truth be told, he is much better at fixing and beautifying than I am, for two reasons: he has more tools hidden in the tool shed (which I am not allowed to touch), and he is more patient than I am. When he fixes what’s broken or hangs a picture on the wall, he does it right, and he doesn’t have to come back and redo it later.

The pictures he hangs are anchored into the studs of the wall, hung with precision using an electronic, laser-beamed level, and they don’t need to be adjusted after each kid walks down the hall and brushes them with their shoulders.

The pictures I hang, on the other hand, hide the evidence of my first few tries behind the frames, and swing like the trees in the wind every time someone passes by. They are up, to be sure, and only I know that they’re not truly secure. But my husband shakes his head each time he comes home to find another of my home improvement projects complete…probably because he knows he will soon have to dig out his tools to do it right!

It’s a comical truth in our home, and probably many others. But the reality we can grasp from it is that the right tool really does make all the difference. If I had access to my husband’s tool box, I could learn how to do more, and how to do it right. Having only a hammer and a screwdriver in the kitchen drawer (I’m surprised he hasn’t hidden those from me yet) has limited my ability to really do much beyond shifty, cosmetic tweaks to the bare walls.

The same principle is true when it comes to our lives. With any job we set out to do, having the right tools makes it possible to do the job well. I once worked as an executive assistant to a woman who gave me her account number for the office supply store and told me to call and order whatever I wanted. Her business motto was that if she supplied her employees with the right tools, they would be able to do their jobs more efficiently and easily. In the long run, that actually saved her more money than she spent on the supplies. And because I had everything I could want or need to make my job easier, the work was a joy instead of a burden for me.

This week, I read a devotional that made my heart leap, because it opened my eyes to see the Bible in a light I had not seen it before. It talked about how, when difficulties and problems come our way, we tend to get frustrated and angry because we’re not sure how to solve or move through them. So often, we pick up the limited tools we have (like me with my hammer and screwdriver), and hack away, getting the same results we’ve always had. Things look good on the surface, but such fixes are ticking time-bombs, just a shoulder-bump away from crashing down and revealing the holes underneath.

I imagine that if I had my bright pink toolkit, I could do a much better job of dealing with the issues I come across. Fixing and decorating would become exciting rather than frustrating, for both my husband and me! In much the same way, if we could learn to see the Bible as our toolbox, with everything we need to rightly fix the problems we come up against, we might learn to view our difficulties differently. We might not only see different results, but we would likely approach them with a whole different attitude!

I know a lot of people who view the Bible as an instruction book. It’s true that it offers directions for anything we will come up against in our lives. It can be, I suppose, a guidebook for those who are looking to find their way.

But if you don’t like to read, or if instructions tend to get complicated in your mind (as they do in mine) or even if you have a natural bent to avoid instructions and just go for it, then you are not going to pick up a more than 1200-page manual and read it. This is common sense. Even when my car breaks, and the code on the dash tells me exactly where to go in my owner’s manual to discover the issue and the solution, I have trouble interpreting and almost always need to visit the experts at the mechanic shop. I’m just not wired to pick up a book and end up with the finished product it describes.


But the Bible is not just an ancient book full of the wisdom of God. It’s not just a book of rules or directions.

The Bible is aliveIt contains not only instructions, but the power to carry out those instructions.

It is like the difference between my screwdriver in the kitchen drawer and my husband’s Makita drill (which I am also not allowed to touch), with a magnet, light, and supercharged battery to ensure that the holes are made in the right spot, and in the right way. What takes me 10 minutes and all the upper body strength I have, he can do in less than 15 seconds. When I walk away from my job, because of my limited tools, I can’t hang much on the head of the screw I’ve driven in. When he walks away, I can hang one of my children on the head of his screw, and it would hold.

You get the picture. With the right tools, any job becomes easier and more promising. And the work remains. With limited tools, or the wrong tools, the job is difficult, frustrating, messy (the sheetrock dust always rats me out), and yields less than reliable results. Almost inevitably, the work fails and has to be redone.

If you’ve never thought of the Bible as your personal toolbox, maybe this is the year you can start! Go online and look for a topical index or guide to all that’s in the Bible (these will tell you where to find the verses that deal with just about anything you can think of or experience in life), and start learning how to fix things right, the first time! (I just bought a children’s version that my kids and I are loving! It’s called What Does the Bible Say About That?, by Carolyn Larsen. In less than 5 minutes a day, we are gaining and learning how to use tools we never knew existed!)

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, you don’t have to settle for cheap, temporary fixes for your problems. You can learn to use the tools God has provided in His Word, and walk away from your difficulties with the joy and satisfaction of a job well done. Even more, you can begin to look at your problems and difficulties through a new lens, because the One Who drew the plans for you has also provided the right tools to accomplish those plans. And He doesn’t withhold any of them! Building your life with God’s Word ensures an easier experience, and promises success! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to live?

May this be the year that you take ownership of your toolbox and learn to wield those weapons well! And may you be so amazed with the results that you find yourself wondering why you didn’t do it sooner! Even more, may others begin to look at your life and see the difference. May they want to know for themselves what tools you are using, so that they, too, can come to know the grace, wisdom and power of God in their own lives.

Together, may we be a visible witness to the world of the truth and power of God’s Word!

{Photo Images courtesy of}


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