We learn the three R’s in school: reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic. We use these principles throughout life. Take the basics of arithmetic, for example. We constantly engage in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Have you considered how we must apply these skills to our spiritual lives?
Subtract hate. Those of the world are often full of hateful tendencies. Part of becoming a Christian involves subtracting such tendencies from our lives. Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31).
Add love. Once we have subtracted the hate of the world from our lives, we must add the love of God. Paul continued, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Multiply good. Once we have subtracted hate from our lives and added love, we will be motivated to commit our lives to multiplying good. Paul wrote of our “patient continuance in doing good” (Rom. 2:7). “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal. 6:10), even to our enemies (Matt. 5:44). Like Dorcas, we need to be “full of good works” (Acts 8:36).
Divide truth and error. God expects us to mature spiritually to the point that we are able “to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14). We must know the difference between truth and error and draw the dividing line between them in our lives. Someday Christ will divide us accordingly (Matt. 25:31-33).
Working out these skills may not get us a perfect score on a math test in school, but they will help make us more perfect as God would have us to be and allow us to be presented as His approved workers (2 Tim. 2:15).