bible crown webWhen you see the acronym “CMOS,” what comes to mind? If you are into electronics, you may think of Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. If plant science is your passion, you might picture what happens when you look at the north side of a tree. The former hippie thinks (If he can still think at all), “Cool, Man! Outta Sight!” The overworked mother may hear the refrain, “Come, Make Our Supper!”
The weary reader may now be thinking, sans acronym, “Get to the point already!”

For the professional writer, CMOS stands for the Chicago Manual of Style. It may not be evident in this emailtext-billboard-Twitter world, but there are certain rules and styles to be kept to assure that written communication is consistently high-quality and easy to comprehend. Ironically, there are so many different manuals that there is a lack of consistency. Editors and writers can choose from Turabian, APA, MLS, AP, Lapsing Into a Comma, Grammar Girl, The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing, Strunk and White, Dreyer’s English, and in-house guides (Yes, I have my own as well). That list merely skims the surface of the
murky pool of correct guides to style and grammar. Just for fun, look up “Oxford comma” to get an idea of how rabid stylists can get over the tiniest jots and tittles of punctuation.

When it comes to life, there are a multitude of style guides to choose from, each with its distinct flavor and authority. In life, where you place your comma is insignificant compared to where you place your trust. With so many voices screaming at you from screens and earbuds, how do you know which ones to heed and which to heave? There is a guide for life that will teach you how to live with style, and it’s the #1 bestseller of all time, with good reason—the Bible. The Bible sets clear, reliable standards for life that anyone can follow. Solomon, speaking to his son, wrote, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” (Proverbs 4:7–9). The same book, in chapter 31, pictures an “excellent wife,” concluding with, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (v. 30).Just as a standard is needed to guide an author seeking to take us on a literary journey, a lifestyle guide is needed to help us journey through life. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Walking in spiritual darkness is like trying to read a novel in an unlit room—there is no benefit to either one.

There is a multitude of life guides available but only one true standard for life. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As you seek to distinguish among the voices, listen to the words of the prophet: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this [God’s] word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Make the Word of God your standard as you create the story of your life. Then, your life will be one of high quality, with
a purpose and a message that are easy to comprehend.

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