I am terrible at math! I don’t even think my left brain functions most days. Thank God for calculators.
I was talking to a friend the other day whose son’s math grade was slipping because he could no longer use a calculator. The teachers realized the students were becoming too reliant on calculators and, as a result, made the kids stop using them. All of a sudden, students who normally got A’s, were getting lower grades when the calculators were absent. They had forgotten basic math facts and were floundering.
As I was reading my Bible this morning, it dawned on me that we, as Christians, can often be just like those kids in that math class. We start off with the basics, the facts. We receive God’s grace with joy and thanksgiving because we recognize how lost we are in our sin. Then, somewhere along the line, we get spiritual amnesia. We forget the whole reason we were given grace in the first place. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “And he (Christ) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
A foundational “math fact” we must never forget in the Christian faith is God’s grace. It is grace that spurs us on to die to ourselves and live and serve as Christ did. When we forget grace (and our desperate need for it), we start living for ourselves.
Many of us say we are living for Christ, and even appear to be living for Christ in the way we serve. We even sing songs at church that say things like, “I surrender all” and “living sacrifice,” but in the moment by moment, day to day, who are we really living for? Who are we really serving? In 2 Corinthians, Paul is trying to remind the early church that if we live for ourselves, we have “received God’s grace in vain” (2 Cor 6:1). I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to receive God’s amazing gift of grace in vain. But I find myself relying on and serving myself more than I would like to. In the self-centered, self-made world we live in, the draw to living for self seems so much more natural and efficient than serving God and dying to self. We, as Christians, forget our spiritual “math facts” and tend to revert to our calculators (ourselves) more often than not.
So how do we get back to the basics when everything around us pulls us inward instead of upward? We must remember grace.
If you have to refresh your memory by asking God to humble your heart, to reveal your desperate need for Him or to open your eyes to your own self-righteousness and sin, do it! We must remember God’s grace in light of our own sin in order to stop serving ourselves. Then, with your heart reminded of the grace you’ve received, go find something to do. Serving others is an outpouring of the grace we have received. When serving becomes forced, we are no longer operating out of grace, but out of and for ourselves. Let’s get back to the “facts” and make sure the grace He extended isn’t in vain.
Lord God, forgive me for how I can so easily get pulled away from you and into my own self-serving desires. Forgive me for how I have been a poor steward of the miraculous grace you have extended to me. Revive me in your ways and help me see and live in your grace in a new and fresh way so that I can pour it out to the world around me. Amen!
Men’s and Women’s Summer Bible Studies
Looking for a place to learn about God or add community to your life? Sign up for a summer Bible study. Band of Brothers, our men’s group, is talking about how to live with joy and unity amidst the turmoil of our world in a study called “Get Over Yourself.” Women in the Word, our women’s group, will be learning about five unique names the Bible uses for Jesus and the promise each one holds in a study called “Worthy is the Name.” Use the links below to learn more about the studies and sign up.