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Our Christian walk requires learning, practice and patience

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So, I won’t type the actual word I’m thinking. I won’t tell you how much I “hate” math. I will say, however, that math and I — well, we aren’t buddy-buddy.

Because we are home educators for our kids, inevitably math is a part of my life. I must know how to do it, otherwise, my children will suffer much anguish going through life dodging percentages and fractions as I do!

What a beautiful day in the Kirk household if I awoke with the mind of a great mathematician, able to throw all caution and insecurity to the wind while working out the newest algebraic equation in my child’s workbook. Alas, it doesn’t work that way. I can arrive at the correct mathematical answer most of the time, but only because I have worked hard at it. I have made myself learn and re-learn formulas that make it possible for me to work the intricate equations.

Is it easy? No! Does it come as naturally to me as putting pen to paper? Never! Do I need to learn math for my kids? Absolutely. I make lots of mistakes along the way, feeling “not smart” and foolish at times, but it’s necessary to learn how to do math. And it’s well-worth it.

Now, apply that same concept in the spiritual realm of things. I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I just want to wake up godly. I want to get up in the morning refreshed spiritually, singing songs of praise to God for the day. I want my attitude to reek of the essence of Christ. I want to automatically be spiritually minded, thinking on things above, and I want it to be that way every minute of every day.

But that’s not reality for most of us — probably not for any of us. Our spiritual walk is not just a state of being, it’s a state of learning how to be. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul tells us, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Paul, the writer credited with penning most of the New Testament — one of the godliest figures ever known — had to learn how to live his life in Christ.

Now, was he ever disappointed in his walk? Of course he was. He said himself in Romans 5:17, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Yet, his disappointment in himself did not cause him to give up hope. Paul knew his walk with Christ did not merely exist in the moment, but in that moment and the moments that followed — and the moments that followed those moments. Paul’s walk with Christ wasn’t something that was magical, just happening every morning when his feet hit the floor. Instead, Paul knew his daily walk was a careful, intense, fully engaging walk. Each day he learned the necessary things for being equipped to be the man God needed him to be.

My friend, if you’re there — if you’re disappointed with your seeming inability to walk worthy — don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. Others before and beside you have had to learn how to be more Christ-like through the things they have both endured and enjoyed.

Beloved, we won’t wake up perfect till we wake up “there.” And oh, what a day that will be!

No more math! (Just kidding — sort of.)

Prayer: “Thank You, Father that You are patient with me, that You love me in spite of my shortcomings. Teach me to learn from You how to be more like You. I love You, Lord.”

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and sbmkax@earthlink.net.

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