When I was a freshman in high school, long before the days of cell phones, pda’s and home computers, I remember my supreme fascination with something called the Rubik’s cube. It was one of those, “how hard could this really be?” things in my life and being the most intelligent one amongst my brothers, my parents purchased for me my very own cube.
Shortly after tearing the plastic packaging off my latest treasure, I took a quick look at its seeming perfection, closed my eyes, and with both hands quickly and effortlessly twisted and turned my Rubik’s cube long enough so that this master problem solver couldn’t retrace my steps – making it so much more of an even greater accomplishment when I solved it! When I opened my eyes, I had successfully altered every solid faced side of my cube into a scrambled disarray of colors - giving me the same feeling I would get opening a 500 piece puzzle box for the first time. This was going to be fun…and this was a challenge I was going to master in no time at all!
To the utter amazement of my entire family, in less than 50 skillfully calculated turns of the cube I successfully solved the Rubik’s algorithm and restored the cube to its original design. Once again my superior problem solving skills prevailed and I mastered the impossible! My brothers both hugged me, my dad took the afternoon off of work to treat me to dinner and mom graciously baked me my favorite – apple pie. It was a glorious day in the Klassen household.
Oh, did I mention that I had to buy a book called, "How to Solve the Cube" somewhere in between all that? Yeah, let’s be honest here. There was no chance in me ever solving that dumb cube by myself. As for getting celebrated, no hugs, dinner or pie either. My mom said, "That’s nice Shian" but that was about it. Looking back I will have to say that I was still impressed with myself that I had solved it, book or no book.
Sometimes I think life is a lot like Rubik’s. We graduate from school ready to meet the challenges of life and all it’s fun, only to find out that life is way more messy than what it first appeared. No matter how many turns you take, no matter how skilled of a problem solver you are, and no matter how perfect you get that one side of your life to look, without God’s algorithm you can never solve the whole thing. Unfortunately it takes some of us a lifetime before we figure that out.
One thing I have come to realize is that God’s algorithm is much more than just a manual to live by, it's a lifestyle known as grace. We’ve got to have His grace if we’re going to solve our cube.
When we try and live our lives doing everything right, pleasing everyone that matters and following every written rule, life begins looking picture perfect on the outside, but on the inside it is a prideful mess. It’s sort of like solving only one side of the cube. If you can show everyone that one side of your life people might tend to think your whole cube is perfect. It’s all about performing for the crowd.
It reminds me of the story about a rich young ruler who met up with Jesus, wanting to know what his next level of performance was in order to please God. He told Jesus that He already had all the rules of the Law down pat – he merely needed to express personal bragging rights and do what it took to hit the next level of picture perfect status. Jesus’ response practically threw him into anaphylactic shock, “Sell everything you have and give it to the poor and follow Me.” Yikes! Not the sort of thing someone attaining status by performance wants to hear. It hit the young guy so hard that he ended up walking away discouraged and upset.
If we look at Jesus’ response to the man, there is something in that simple one-liner that holds true for each one of us today. You see, God measures neither salvation nor Christian living by performance. When we take a step of faith by giving away everything we pretend to be, in essence it’s like stripping down to the bare-naked reality of who we really are. It is then that we set our course to follow Him. What we discover is an algorithm for life from God Himself which isn’t at all complicated, performance oriented or hard. Christ in you, the hope of glory as the Bible puts it, fills you with His grace – everything He is. It gives you the freedom to be the person God made you to be.
The result? You begin to enjoy life. Your ‘cube’ starts coming together. And in a few short turns, you become a masterpiece in the hands of the Master.