Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Using the Wrong Measuring Stick

“But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us…” (2 Cor. 10:13)
The last seven verses of the tenth chapter of 2 Corinthians are all about measuring, mainly going about it in the wrong way. Just as He condemns an unjust weight (Prov. 11:1), God has no time for a false measure. We all know it would be foolish to try to measure a cup of flour with a ruler. And by measuring our conduct against that of others (v. 12), or gauging the success of our ministry by someone else’s accomplishments (v. 15), we can never hope to get a true picture of our own Christian lives. I’ve thought for a long time that one reason we have so many shallow Christians is that people ask superficial, inconsequential questions. And the reason so few of us ever see ourselves as God does is because we use our own measuring stick, not His.
For instance, as Christian women, we can spend more time measuring the length of a skirt—ours of someone else’s—than the depth of the devotion. And if you think one is always a reflection of the other, you’re missing out on some wonderful, sweet fellowship. You and I are easily fooled by externals, but you can be sure God isn’t.
Then, it’s easy to measure someone’s prayer life by the regularity of their seemingly miraculous answers to prayer instead of the persistence of their petitions. Jesus talked about prayer that could move a mountain, but He also gave the example of the final result of “importunity” in Luke 11:8. If faith is the measuring stick here, cannot either example be argued? It’s not always as obvious we think.
And what about those who would measure the greatness of the gift by its size when Jesus was all about the enormity of the sacrifice (Luke 21:1-4)? My husband has preached for years that God is more interested in what we keep back from Him than all that we may give.
Finally, let me “meddle” a little here and suggest to you that to measure love—especially the love between a husband and wife—by the constant declaration of “need” instead of the strength of trust only demonstrates the fragility of that love. C.S. Lewis made a strange statement in his classic, Mere Christianity. Speaking of how to recognize a true Believer, he said, “They love you more than other men do, but they need you less.” I readily recognize myself in Paul’s description of the “weaker vessel,” but the love I share with my husband makes me stronger, not weaker.
Have you heard someone say, “You’ve got the wrong end of the stick here”? Well, some of us may have the wrong stick altogether, when it comes to measuring others and ourselves. And I have an idea you could add more examples to the ones I’ve given here. Go ahead. J I want to measure myself “according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us.” Nothing more, but nothing less. It’s a tall order, I know, but a worthy goal nonetheless. What do you think?

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