Jeff Weddle | @anti_itcher
It’s been 24 years since I was in high school algebra, and I still haven’t used algebra one time in my life. Not once, which means my low grades don’t mean a thing, right?
Well, not exactly. I am now old enough to have a kid in high school algebra. My daughter is currently struggling her way through algebra too.
As she brings home her failed tests and horrible quiz grades, it would be really nice if I could lecture her. It would be nice to tell her to buckle down and do the homework and get the grade up. But I can’t. Want to know why I can’t?
Because she knows she is currently getting a better grade in algebra than I had.
When I was in algebra, yeah, I always had my homework done, but that was mostly because it took me all of 7 minutes. I spent very little effort on algebra. I have no moral ground upon which to stand to deliver a first-rate lecture to my daughter.
Several times I have met Christians who console themselves that their sin is OK because “God is gracious. I don’t have to fight sin; I’m already forgiven.” These same people also tend to wonder why they can’t convince their family members or friends to believe the Gospel.
Hmm, I wonder. One of the main reasons to decide to fight sin is because of our testimony. Now, it’s not the only reason; otherwise we would just wait until we were home to sin, but it’s still a major reason.
The Apostle Paul was concerned about the reputation of the ministry. He knew people were watching him, and his handling of life was going to impact people’s reception of his preaching. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:3, “giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited.”
You may not like it that people are watching and judging you, but they are. It’s what people do. If our lives are not backing up our message, our message becomes ineffectual.
This is true for those who represent the Gospel, just as much as it’s true for a guy who took Algebra 2 twice who has a daughter who is doing better her first go- around in Algebra 2.
No, I have no moral ground to lecture my daughter on her algebra grade, but luckily for her, I married a smart woman, a woman who aced algebra. I let my wife do the lecturing in this department.
Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the one we point people to. He is the ultimate, perfect example. This, however, does not mean His people can flail around in sin and think that we are pointing people to Christ. It doesn’t work that way.
What we do matters. Sin is a big deal and needs to be fought daily for many reasons. One big reason is that people need to see the light of the world shining in us, as it may be one of the few lights in their darkness.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Jeff Weddle is the husband of one wife and father of three kids. He is pastor of Rhinelander Bible Church in Rhinelander, WI. He enjoys reading, writing, guitaring, and although he does not enjoy running, he tends to do that a lot, too. You can contact him on Twitter at @anti_itcher or at his blog: AntiItchMeditation.wordpress.com.