Does your life add up?
Recent studies have shown that from birth the human brain has a number sense. There seems to be a type of cerebral substrate that deal with numbers and their relations. Dealing with numbers is as natural to a human being as echolocation is to a bat or singing a song is to a songbird. Mathematics and what exactly it is has been a debate that has gone on for a very long time. It could be described as taking contrasting values and reconciling them to a singular function. Unfortunately, many people suffer through lives that do not seem to add up. However, if we can be honest about whether our lives do add up or not, things can start to get better immediately.
The Bible asks its readers to subscribe to the idea that God was so intent on letting man know that He understood his problems that He came in person to express that comprehension (Hebrews 4:15). Christ lived completely within the confines of man’s capability to demonstrate that the plan of God outlined in the Bible could be lived. The religiosity of man had made following God or what might be called seeking the truth, nearly impossible. Even some in Christianity find it difficult to believe that Jesus didn’t use some special power of Divinity to do what He did. However, if that is true then His exhortation to follow Him is completely unrealistic; it doesn’t add up and should not be accepted by those that are honestly seeking the truth.
For those that say they follow Christ, using their own gauge of what is appropriate or the gauge of others is like taking three completely different puzzles and trying to make them all fit together. It might be possible, but not without breaking or distorting some of the pieces. Even if one manages to make the pieces fit, what kind of picture would result? When life’s equations do not seem to add up there is a traceable cause. If all we do in the assessment of our lives is compare ourselves to individuals or creeds with which we are comfortable, we will never improve. In fact, we will lull ourselves into thinking that we are doing alright, when in fact we may be on the brink of slipping into a comfortable straightjacket (a definite oxymoron). If we establish our own guidelines for living or follow a faulty pattern in this regard, we are constraining ourselves. We eventually grow used to living a life that is far short of desirable objectives and outcomes.
The Life of Christ provides a far more accurate gauge of how to live and of what is most important. In large part, He came to save man from himself and his distorted ideas about purpose, plan, peace and path. The Bible offers a proposition without imposition. All it really asks of its readers is that they consider what it proposes for a meaningful life. It doesn’t ask someone to give up their identity or set aside plans for happiness. It does ask one to consider if in spirit (heart), soul (mind) and body the plan they have engaged is adding up to a life that really counts and is meeting expectations.
In a letter written to the church at Corinth, Paul encouraged them to look at the way they felt, thought and acted and if it was compatible with knowledge and wisdom (II Corinthians 10:5). Most people know if what they want is adding up with what they do. They aren’t just interested in improvement, they are invested in it. When this occurs, one’s life starts to add up; to make sense. Albert Einstein defined insanity as utilizing the same faulty methods over and over again while expecting a different (better) result. When we aren’t getting the results we want it is likely the components of our lives aren’t adding up.
Most of life is a simple equation. It amounts to knowledge rightly applied based on an objective standard, such as the proven formula(s) of the Bible. It also requires that those seeking the truth remain teachable. When we are open to instruction the quality of our decisions start to improve. When the quality of our decisions start to improve our lives will start to make sense because we will discover better ways of solving lingering problems.
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is the President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River, Alaska. (www.universityofcss.org.)