I used to think that a + b = c. I do what pleases God: pray, read my Bible, go to church, give, serve, watch Christian TV, and basically live a good, moral life. (That’s a + b.) As I did all that, I would get c: God’s blessing and prosperity, a perfect, clean-cut family who were the picture of a godly family (the picture in my mind anyway.) C to me was basically a life with no difficulties… smooth sailing. Nobody would die prematurely; nobody would experience pain and hopelessness. We would live and raise our children, become grandparents, retire with a giant RV and become snow birds. Life would go according to my plan because I would make good choices, right?
Not right. God had other plans for me—and for most of us, I think. God wants so much more for us than an easy, carefree life. He is so much bigger than a mathematical equation. We try to put God in a box… into a little equation, and He breaks all our rules!
I heard a phrase a few weeks ago that blew me away, “Jesus did not come to make bad men good. He came to make dead men alive.” Does that blow you away like it did me? I’ve read it several times since in a book by Tullian Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham) called Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Now that is a mathematical equation God can use!
We have a problem, and our problem is sin. I work very hard to “fix” my problem of sin by trying harder and beating myself up when I fail. Oh, and I do the same to those around me! I demand good behavior from them and when they fail, oh boy, do I let them have it—at lease in my thoughts.
But our sin is not the root of the problem. It is a symptom of our deadness. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to “fix” my problem of deadness! Only Jesus can make me alive.
The solution to my problem has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Jesus! And that is my Unswerving Hope!