Sunday, April 15, 2018

This is a result of that...

I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 TLB)
Every now and again I try to teach someone something in Excel that will actually make their life easier if they adopt the function or shortcut into their practice. At first, they listen intently. At some point down the road, either they get it, or I see their eyes roll back in their head and you know they will never use that shortcut or function in a million years! What happens is that some are very intent on learning - on wanting to know how this software 'tool' can work FOR them. They have tried to create their own ways of doing the same function, such as selecting all the data at one time, but their method of scrolling for eternity until they find their last row and column of data is just insane when a simple holding of the Control Key and striking the "A" key at the same time will do all that in one simple move! When they see the ease at which they can adopt the new practice of the shortcut, they are delighted! Why? Life just got less complicated! The sooner we realize that the complication is US trying to do things OUR way, the sooner we can get out of the way and adopt the 'new practice' of allowing Christ to live through us - the complication we have added to our lives isn't going to interfere with our forward progress anymore.
At least that is what we think when we say "yes" to Jesus - that those things we have created as these huge 'work arounds' that 'get the job done', but bear a tremendous cost to us, will somehow just be gone in a poof. The truth of the matter is that sometimes we hold onto what we have come to think will 'work' in a particular situation, but which really isn't working FOR us all that well. It might get the job done, but at what cost? I might be able to resist a particular temptation, but at what cost? How much effort has to go into that 'will-power' moment (or moments) to resist? When I embrace the grace God gives to resist that same temptation, it still might require some effort on my part, but the effort is much less when he guides my steps! The 'real life' we live 'in Christ' isn't the result of US the results, but his presence and power creating those results within and through us. 
Almost all the functions within Excel begin with the equal sign. Why? You are telling the computer you want a certain outcome as a result of what you are doing. For example, to add two numbers together, you tell the computer to look for the sum of those two cells and return it in another cell. In real life, we are constantly creating similar scenarios in our minds. We might imagine something, then say "if this happens, then that will be the result" - the famous 'if,then' statement. There are a lot of 'if,then' moments in life. If I am hungry as an infant, I cry, then someone feeds me. The 'if, then' is rewarded. If I do something nice for that person, then they will do something nice in return. How's that one been working for you in life? Not all 'if,then' situations return the desired results, do they? You have to have the right 'if' in order to get the right 'then' and perhaps you will get the desired result. I have created way more functions I thought would work in this lifetime only to find the 'if' or 'then' didn't yield the desired result!
The 'if,then' is only assured when the beginning and ending point is Christ! You want the best results - start with the right formula. In this lifetime, we look for the shortcuts. That isn't all that wrong. But...there are very few that actually yield the results we desire. To be assured of better results, maybe we should start with the 'if Christ is at the center here' and end with the 'then I will listen to what he has to say'. Just sayin!