If you’ve ever attempted a home improvement project, sewn a garment, built a birdhouse or designed anything, you know the importance a measuring stick! Whether it’s an actual measuring stick, tape or digital gadget, you can’t successfully build anything without accurate measuring devices. And it’s just as important that you continue using the same measuring stick during your project.
We have an old, old wooden measuring stick that’s been passed down through the family that’s more heirloom than accurate. After years of use and misuse (I seem to recall it being ridden like a stick horse because it has a convenient leather strap at the end) it actually has some pretty significant chips in it. Not good when needing an accurate measure. Rulers and measuring sticks tend to get the ends chipped or worn away over time, there will be nicks and even cracks in them. So to make sure we build or evaluate our projects accurately, we need an accurate measuring tool. One that remains consistent without blemishes or flaws, one that won’t vary in results regardless of what or how often we measure.
The problem is, we sometimes choose the wrong measuring tool. There are yardsticks, 12 inch rules, metal rules, measuring tapes and even digital gadgets that calculate whatever square footage or surface area you need. Selecting the appropriate tool is critical to the final outcome of our project.
Choosing the wrong measuring tool or standard guarantees future problems!
We often make the mistake of choosing the wrong measuring stick. How easy it is to look at someone and without even acknowledging it to ourselves, automatically “measure” ourselves using THEM as the measuring stick.
“Well, at least she could have removed their clothes out of the dryer before they wrinkled! Looks like they slept in them.” And the unspoken measurement – “My kid’s clothes are clean AND unwrinkled! I win.”
Or how about, “She’s always late! For once couldn’t she be on time, just set your clock earlier for crying out loud.” And the unspoken measurement – “I’m never late. I get here at least 15 minutes early every day. I win!”
And them there’s the reverse effect of choosing the wrong measuring stick.
“She always looks like she stepped out of a magazine. I’ve never seen her without full make-up, hair and nails done, and a cute outfit. Complete with matching shoes!” And the unspoken measurement – “On my best days I have on two matching shoes. I look like a two year picked my clothes out in the dark. I lose.”
Or, “How do they afford that beautiful house? It’s always spotless and the furnishing are unbelievable.” Then the unspoken measurement – “My house is a dump. No one in the family tries to help out and it’s all on me. I’ll never have a nice house. I lose.”
What’s the problem here? Simple, we’re using the wrong measuring stick. It’s so much easier to measure our success or failure, our sin and righteousness compared to others. The problem with that is, humans as measuring sticks are inconsistent, inaccurate and flawed. There is only one true standard by which we should hold ourselves accountable. And that is, God’s standard of righteousness. Much like the Pharisee found himself superior to the tax collector, he still fell far short of the glory of God – only he didn’t realize it. He was too busy choosing the wrong measuring stick.
God’s righteousness is always consistent, true, accurate, unchanging and unattainable on our own. Only through the blood of Christ do we have access to his righteousness. And it is HIS righteousness that frees us from the slavery of constant inaccurate measurement and comparison to others. Humans can not be our standard of measurement or judgment. For I can always find someone to whom I can ‘measure’ myself and feel superior. And I can always find someone to whom I feel inferior. Neither are pleasing to God, nor do they glorify Him.
Our standard can only be the righteousness of Christ. We all fall short on His measuring stick.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23 – 24
And in that grace and redemption we obtain through Christ, there is freedom from choosing the wrong measuring stick. Christ becomes our standard and releases us from the slavery of constant worldly comparisons.
Instead of placing ourselves on the sacrificial altar of worldly standards, it’s time we get up up, walk away and submit ourselves to the one standard worthy of comparison, the righteousness of Christ.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing go your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12: 1 – 3
It is time to free ourselves and others. Choose the correct measuring stick.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”