How Do we Measure Ourselves?
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor.10:12). We measure ourselves all the time. We step on the scales. We measure our height. I used to be 5’7.75”, but now I am 5’7”. Even more critically, we measure and compare ourselves with others. The real problem is not measuring ourselves. It is the ruler we use that is critical.
I read once, “Normal is a setting on a dryer.” What is normal? Who gets to define normal? If I am the ruler for measuring everyone, then everyone else is weird and I am normal. When others disagree with me, I say, “I give you the right to be wrong!” By my measuring, the top half of the class would not be possible without the bottom half of the class. The “I” ruler is the wrong measuring stick. If we use it, we are not wise.
“I am better than those hypocrites down there.” Maybe so. “Little Jack Horner…stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and said, ‘What a good boy am I’.” Feel good about that? Measuring ourselves by the hypocrites may still leave us miserably wrong. Being lost with them is not an advantage. The hypocrite gives false comfort.
Heroes of faith are worth emulating. This is far different from “comparing themselves among themselves”, patting each other on the back saying, “I’m okay, you’re okay.” The heroes of faith call us to a higher plan, to a remarkable measure of faithfulness. It is said of Timothy, “There is no one likeminded, who will sincerely care for your state.” Of Stephanus’ household, it is said, “They were devoted to the ministry of saints.” Dorcas “was full of good works and charitable deeds” making clothes for widows. Barnabas sold land and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the apostles. Do we see how high they set the measuring stick?
Truth is, God is the absolute measuring stick. Truth shows no partiality and never bends to suit the situation. Truth is the criteria of final judgment. In any age, in all situations, truth is pure and not tarnished. Wise people listen to truth and then compare their conduct and character to God’s measuring stick. They want to do right and really try to measure up, even though they miss the full measure of truth’s mark. Truth calls and the wise seek it diligently and follow it.
Jesus is our practical measurement (Heb. 12:2). He goes before. He shows the way. He shows how a Son of God conducts Himself. Christians measure themselves by Him. His image is their goal. They forgive just as He forgives. Because He laid down His life for us, we also aspire to that lofty sacrifice for each other. Christians, like Jesus, always try to please the Father in all things. Jesus is our ideal rule for measure.