Math equations have always been helpful tools to give a picture of a process, clearer understanding, and even a possible plan of action. We’re going to explore a math equation in regard to godly conduct. I guess you could call it – “moral math?”
First thing to do with a math equation is to find what the variables are. Let’s start with this –
1 MAIN THING + 2 WAYS TO DO IT = GODLY CONDUCT
Your variables to fill in are 1 MAIN THING and 2 WAYS TO DO IT. How can we find the correct elements to fill in the variables?
First Step: 1 MAIN THING – So You Can Do The Math
The “1 MAIN THING” needed for godly conduct is God’s love. This starts the entire math equation for your life. You are deeply loved by God. He wants to lavish His goodness on you. His love runs so deep for you that it sent Jesus to the cross. Everything Jesus does is a fragrant offering to God. He is the main thing because He perfectly represents God’s love and perfectly bore God’s rightful judgement. And Jesus makes Himself completely available to you as your 1 MAIN THING. He is what you need to fill that first variable. Jesus cares about every detail of your life. Are you asking for His help? Do you believe His love for you? Are you making God’s love your 1 MAIN THING in life? Jesus is the start of your life equation.
Second Step: 2 WAYS TO DO IT
The “2 WAYS TO DO IT” are 1. In your heart, 2. In your behaviors. And it goes in that order, yet they run side by side. These are the elements – the variables – needed to be added to God’s love that will equal godly conduct. You can’t effectively make a difference if it doesn’t start in your heart. And what’s in your heart doesn’t matter much if you are not applying it to make a difference in your life, relationships, and habits.
Your Heart – Scripture says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” (Mk. 12:30) That was Jesus’ answer when asked what the greatest commandment is. The Apostle Paul said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:8) That man let God’s love change him from the heart out! How about you? Have you let God’s love transform you in practical ways?
Your Behaviors – Got wants you to be an imitator of Jesus. In fact, He wants you to be a partner. There are people in your life who need His love in big and little ways. They need eternal life and forgiveness of sin. They need His help and interventions in life details – just like you do. Your heart and behaviors, together in Christ, can be a picture of God to others. So be thoughtful, careful, well-informed in Scripture, and be courageous. Love affects how you express yourself, your needs and wants, and how you meet others’ needs and wants. Your speech and attitudes matter. How you dress, what you do during your free time, how you spend your money and energy, those habits! These – and more – behaviors reveal what’s in your heart.
Step 3: What Really Is GODLY CONDUCT?
This is what is on the “other side” of the = sign. To be like Jesus means you will do one thing above everything else in your life: love God first, most, and best.
Then you will avoid these additional things:
- Refuse to use others wrongfully to meet your needs or to accomplish your agenda.
- Avoid empty words and foolish talk that shows a shallow approach to relationships and to life.
- Side-step selfish gain that puts you first in issues.
- And you will not partner with people who pursue this lifestyle.
However, you will absolutely work to do these things:
- Embrace your high calling as one of God’s holy people. You are His child with a new identity.
- Represent His love with congruent behaviors toward others. Start with your family.
- Willingly sacrifice your agenda to accomplish God’s agenda.
- Practice thanksgiving from a grateful heart – without even a hint of anything less, like bitterness. It is really hard to sin when you have a grateful heart.
So, here it is again: 1 MAIN THING + 2 WAYS TO DO IT = GODLY CONDUCT.
Is this math working in your life? Is the equation an accurate representation of your algorithm? Does your heart beat to the 1 MAIN THING + your behaviors show 2 WAYS TO DO IT = GODLY CONDUCT? This is what we are aiming for!
Do The Math Application
Do you believe God loves you? This is the critical beginning variable of your life equation. Your life story, your virtual e-pistle – what people “read” about you as you live, as they watch – matters in this high-tech i-generation using the internet, computers, social media, and a plethora of tech resources. These people need to know God’s love. You can help them find these key variables to make their life equation work. But you need to plug in these variables first.
What things need to change in you to show you accept Jesus’ love? What things will you invest your heart in today to show His love to your family? Your co-workers? Neighbors? Friends? What about homeless people who have no place to go? What about sick people around the globe, the dying, those grieving because they lost a loved one? How can you show God’s love to your inner circle, your community, and your world?
Do the math! Start with 1. God’s love. Then engage your 2. heart and behaviors. Then your life equation will present godly conduct to a world that desperately needs God’s love.
Article developed from Eph. 5:1-7.
Description – It’s hard to change habits and establish new patterns. Old, unhealthy patterns can feel like a ball and chain you drag around. It seems to take a mammoth effort to dump the old and introduce the new. Practicing new strokes takes energy, focus, and resolve. It almost seems easier to just put up with the old even though you know it’s not your best – or the best for you. So, what do you do?