After a 7-year hiatus of staying home with our children, I returned to teaching this year. Acclimating to the demands of being a high school English teacher, I realized I had not missed grading essays. I love watching students grow in their writing, but the rigor of reading and grading 25 essays at a time can be mind-boggling. To keep from losing sight of the standard I've set, I often use a grading sheet denoting the value for each aspect of the assignment. Rubrics keep me sane as I wade through comma splices and run-on sentences.

While we rarely receive a grade for our varied activities in a day, we are surrounded by performance evaluations. From the movies we see to the cars we buy to our applications on Facebook (and even the devotions we write), we can measure and be measured. Living in a society where ratings determine value, we can mistakenly transfer this mindset to our spiritual growth.

Salvation can't be earned (Ephesians 2:5-9). Understandably though, our humanity gravitates to anything we can control, even the measurable aspect of spiritual disciplines. In Galatians 2, Paul spoke to this issue in his confrontation with Peter. No amount of Bible reading, prayer, or fasting can earn us any part of God's inheritance (Titus 3:7). There exists but one measurement for grace: We are given what we don't deserve.

Works don't lead to salvation, but good works should flow from the lives of those who've been saved (Matthew 5:16). If we understand, "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy," we will then "devote [ourselves] to doing good" (Titus 3:5,8).

Rubrics may provide an earthly standard of measurement, but for our salvation there's just one standard, the blood of Jesus. , Regina Franklin

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