Simple Algebra

I have been a Christian for quite some time now. At least I’ve been going through the motions for many years of attending church on a weekly basis, praying, volunteering and tithing. I always figured, the more I did this stuff the closer I would be to God and my assurance of everlasting life would be secured.

I had the same attitude toward high school algebra class. I felt that if I kept going, it would eventually seep in. But if it wasn’t for my buddy James I would’ve never made it. I would whisper in a panic, “Hey man, what’s the answer to this one?”

It wasn’t until college when I really had to buckle down when it came to algebra. I think I dropped out of algebra class about 3 or 4 times. As the semester went on and I got farther and farther behind, I would just drop out to avoid failing.

Finally I took the class with a sense of determination. I sat in the front of the room. I completed all of my homework. I participated in class. I aced every test. I think I missed 3 questions the whole semester. I did so well that I could’ve failed the final and still got an A in the class. So, I didn’t go. I got the A I wanted.

In my Christian walk, I started practicing some simple disciplines of getting in the Word daily to gain the knowledge I thought I needed to be a “good Christian”. It was more like a race or a sense of accomplishment, really. I downloaded a Bible app and started knocking out reading plans. The shorter ones were great because I could complete more of those. It was a numbers game. I was earning points for Jesus.

Coming from a background in fitness, I thought about those workouts where you’re just trying to get it done. You are going for quantity and not quality. I often asked myself, “Who am I cheating?” No one cares that I did x number of reps and x number of sets. But did I focus and endure the pain required to move to the next level?

I think the same goes with our spiritual lives. Are we meditating on the words we just read? Are we studying further what we just read to get the full context? Are we devoting time to the Lord and being patient in our learning? I thoroughly enjoy quiet time with the Lord. I look forward to it. That is the time when I sit still and listen. That is when the words I just read start having meaning. That’s when the connections are made and the understanding is revealed.

For the longest time my prayer has been for God to soften my heart. I felt like I had this thick, black heart which was immune to compassion. It was consumed with pride, lust and greed. Only God has the power to transform me. But I had to wait. I had to wait for God to perform a miracle. And I waited and waited. I prayed again and waited. And waited some more.

Then, as I was reading scripture I noticed this simple algebraic equation. Actually I didn’t see it while I was reading but afterward while I was meditating on that Word. They are the words from Jesus as he was praying to the Father.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

Here is the equation which is a bioconditional statement: if and only if x+y = y+z, then x=z.

I was floored. Literally I was on my knees praising God for setting me free. If God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God then they are together as one in unity. And if we are in Jesus, as God is in Jesus, then we are one with God. We are not one with God but only by being one with Jesus. That means my heart is no longer that dark, hardened heart. But I have the heart of Jesus dwelling within me. I have been transformed in Jesus name.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Music has been “instrumental” when it comes to intimacy with God in my own life. Close your eyes, listen to the lyrics of this song and enjoy His rest.

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