A few months ago, we began using a new program at ATLAS (the ministry I work with) that helps us track donations, manage contacts, send emails, and many other things. One of the features included in the program is something called an Ahern Audit. This feature scans your outgoing correspondence and tells you two things. First, it tells you the reading level of whatever you’ve written. It says our communications should ideally be between a 6th and an 8th grade reading level.
Second, it also has this thing called a “You Test.” The “You Test” measures how many “you” words we’ve used in our letter or email compared to how many “we” words. The purpose of the test is to help make sure an organization’s correspondence focuses more on their donors and supporters than on themselves. The “You Test” says, “Ideally, you should use twice as many ‘you’ words as ‘we’ words.”
I’ve wondered what would it be like if we all had a “You Test” that comprehensively tracked how much we focus on ourselves over the course of a day?
In the middle of a conversation, your “You Test” could tell you, “You’ve talked about yourself three times as much as you’ve listened to the other person. Maybe listen for awhile?”
Before you post that pic on Instagram, your “You Test” could warn you, “You’ve already shared fourteen times as many selfies today as other posts. Do you really want to share this?”
As you complain about that single-mom at the store taking too long to check-out in front of you, your “You Test” could remind you, “You’ve thought about your needs 3,764 times more than other people’s needs so far today. Want to try grace?”
In my selfishness, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 has often served as my “You Test.” While it doesn’t give me as specific feedback as this imaginary “You Test,” these verses constantly remind me to take my focus off myself and look to Christ.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
As we look to Christ and begin to grasp the gravity of what he has done for us and saved us from, his grace draws our eyes up off our own selfish desires and toward him. The truth of the gospel calls us to live for something greater than ourselves. The love Christ demonstrated through his life, death, and resurrection and continues to demonstrate by living inside believers moves us to live for his sake instead of the sake of self.
Christ’s love so overwhelms all other loves, especially the love of self, that it “controls” or “compels” us to love and serve him by loving and serving others.
So take a “You Test” today by looking to the gospel. It’ll change your view.