Do I Measure Up?
"I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight." Amos 7:7 (NLT)
A plumb line is a tool which builders use to determine whether or not their project is vertically aligned. In Amos 7, the Lord gives the prophet a vision of God as a plumb line and Israel as the wall. He wanted to know if His people still aligned themselves with His character and ways.
The picture of God using a plumb line to measure the Israelites gave me a mental picture of myself, accompanied by some challenging questions.
What is my plumb line? With what do I measure myself? What or whose standards am I trying to meet?
My ‘church answer’ is, "I measure myself by the Lord's standards." I aim to be just, humble, merciful, loving, and righteous. Sometimes I am slightly off-center, giving in to gossip, jealousy, or anger. God’s grace is there to give me the adjustment I need to reset back to His plumb line. Then, I try again to align my thoughts and actions with God’s Word. However, if I am totally honest, I also often measure myself by others’ standards.
It’s challenging not to compare ourselves to others and try to live up to their ways. Whether it be a mom who only feeds her kids homemade food or a co-worker who volunteers every weekend or a sister who studies the Bible several hours every day … we can fall into the trap of believing we need to be and do like everyone else. This has dangerous consequences if we’re not careful: doubt, guilt, insecurity, and frustration.
When we attempt to live up to people’s ways (instead of God’s), we make this mistake: we compare ourselves to the person we perceive them to be, not the person they actually are. In doing so, we will always come up short.
It’s fine and even good to be inspired by others. But let’s be inclined to be aligned to God alone. With Him, we don't have to perceive anything. His standards are clear in Scripture and never change. They’re true, just, proven, doable, and good for us. Let's allow Him to do His job and keep us vertically aligned with Him and His ways.
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