The Cart and the Horse
OBEYING GOD’S COMMANDS WILL NOT SAVE US, BUT SAVING FAITH WILL PRODUCE OBEDIENCE.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Galatians 3:10-11; 5:16.
Verse of the Day: “The righteous will live by their faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).
Krystal came crying into her classroom at her Christian school. All the other children were still on the playground.
“What’s the matter, Krystal?” her teacher, Miss Stacy, asked. Miss Stacy placed a gentle hand on each of Krystal’s shoulders and pulled her close.
Krystal struggled to control her sobbing, and finally managed to explain. “I—I was playing hopscotch with Bethany, and—and I fell down and then I said a bad word.”
“Did you hurt yourself?” Miss Stacy asked.
“N-no,” Krystal answered. “But now I won’t go to heaven!”
“What?” Miss Stacy asked, her voice still soft. “What makes you think that?”
“My mommy and daddy are teaching me how to make right choices. But now I’ve done a bad thing, and I won’t get to go to heaven.”
Miss Stacy hugged Krystal and stroked her hair gently. She smiled slightly. She knew Krystal’s parents, and she knew they had not intended to give their daughter that impression. “Oh, Krystal, that’s not true,” she said.
“It’s … it’s not?” Krystal said. Her crying subsided slightly, and she looked up at Miss Stacy with big, round eyes.
“No,” the teacher said, erasing her smile. “Not at all. You’re getting the cart before the horse.”
“I am?” Krystal asked.
Miss Stacy nodded. “Didn’t you ask Jesus to live in your heart?” she asked. Krystal sniffled and nodded solemnly. “And don’t you love Jesus?”
“Oh, yes,” Krystal answered. She wiped a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand.
“Krystal, that’s what makes you a Christian. That’s why you get to go to heaven.” Krystal didn’t speak, but her tears had stopped flowing. “Saying a bad word isn’t going to change any of that. But loving God and being a Christian should make you want to do good things, not bad things.”
“Oh, I do,” Krystal said, her face suddenly bright. “I want to be good… for Jesus!” Miss Stacy laughed and hugged Krystal again. “I know you do, Krystal. We all do.”
TO DISCUSS: How would you answer the questions Miss Stacy asked Krystal (“Did you ask Jesus to live in your heart?” and “Do you love Jesus?”)? Do you think making right choices saves us or gets us to heaven? Do you think a saving faith in Jesus Christ helps us make right choices? Explain.
TO PRAY: After the above discussion, take turns praying for family members and friends who need to know the truth of Jesus’ love.