"The bottom line" in accounting is "the" number that reveals if a business made a profit or suffered a loss. Before the "bottom line," sales, contracts, mergers, and cash "inflow" optimistically declare, "The business is in great shape!" Before "the bottom line," operating costs, overhead expenses, marketing costs, taxes, and cash "outflow" pessimistically declare, "The business is a disaster!" After factoring each plus and minus, "the bottom line" reveals the actual situation. "The bottom line" commonly is the critical, essential truth.

Because of the critical significance of "the bottom line," that term is used to inquire into every life situation. "Give me the 'bottom line,'" or, "What is 'the bottom line' in this situation (discussion, problem, need, relationship, decision, etc.)?"

To be victorious over temptation, what is "the bottom line?" To make godly decisions, what is the "bottom line"? To recognize evil, what is "the bottom line"? To escape Satan's deceptive enticements, what is "the bottom line"?

When (not if) your child is offered an illegal substance; or is encouraged to shop lift; or is the object of sexual seduction, pressure, or enticement; or has the opportunity to cheat; or can steal "safely;" or faces powerful peer pressures to do evil, "bottom line," what will determine his or her decision?

When a Christian adult is tempted to deceive; or to steal; or to be dishonest with spouse or significant friend; or to have an affair; or to be a sexually active unmarried; or to use recreational drugs; or to use evil for pleasure or escape; or to reject godly values; "bottom line," what determines his or her decision?

The "bottom line" for surviving temptation, rejecting ungodly desires, and embracing godly values is the same for teens or adults. The "bottom line" is personal relationship with God. "Bottom line," relationship with God is built. "Bottom line," relationship with God is built on the foundation of godly knowledge and understanding.

Your education about God, Christ, and the Bible is critical to your spiritual "bottom line." A primary factor in your spiritual education should be our education program. Members, get involved in a class. Teachers, remember the teachers' meeting this Sunday afternoon. Improve the "bottom line" in your life, your spouse's life, and your children's lives.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 October 1998

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