I used to be the world’s worst picture hanger. I would just grab a nail and hammer, some picture wire, and start pounding. Several holes later, I would look at my work and cringe. The picture was hung crooked, or off-center. My problem was solved, as soon as I started using the right tools – primarily a tape measure.
There are many simple tools builders use to create strong, sturdy, straight work. How can a good builder cut a straight line, without a good straight edge? Can he hang a floor or a door, without a level? Where does he dig the footers, without a plan?
The wise man C.S. Lewis once pondered “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” Why did I cringe when I hung a picture wrong? I would look at the straight line on the ceiling or the corner, and see that my picture was not lined up.
Today, in our daily lives, we look at crooked things and say they are wrong. By what standard are we making that determination? What is our straight-edge? What is our level?
When I began building my life, I did not use a plan. I just lived. All my decisions were based on what I felt was right. Yes, I was selfish. I believed in ONE absolute truth, that there WAS no absolute truth. Looking back, I can see how that believing in “my truth” was also an absolute truth, which I could not believe. So was there absolute truth?
Bankers handle good money all the time, so when they just touch a counterfeit, they know. Using C.S. Lewis’s example, falsehoods cannot exist without a way to determine they are false -unless by holding them up to the standard called “truth.”
In the Bible, Proverbs 2 speaks of wisdom, discernment and discretion. When people seek these things as some seek after hidden treasure, they will find the knowledge of God. The proverb also says that it is God who gives knowledge and understanding. When have found the knowledge of God, verse 9 says “Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.”
How do we know what is right? With a standard – God.
We are the crooked line and Jesus is the straight edge we must compare ourselves to. Jesus came as Emmanuel – “God with us” – to fulfill all righteousness – so that we can have an idea of how crooked we really are. He gave us His Word – the Bible – so that we don’t have to go through life without a plan, or without direction. Am I saying that the best tool in our toolbox of life is the Bible? How else do we know about Jesus? How else do we know what is true and what is false?
What better standard is there, than the standard of perfection? In fact, did you know that God will only allow “holy” things into heaven? What is holy? Pure, perfect, un-blemished – sin free.
I once worked repairing computers at places like Motorola and Intel. Sometimes the broken computer would be in a “clean room.” Everything in that room had to be clean, dust free and hair free. I had to go through a cleansing process, put on clean coveralls, including a hat, gloves and booties, before I was allowed in. I had to learn to handle my tools with those gloves on. There were rules, and I had to abide by them. There was a reason behind it all.
There is a reason behind God’s plan for us as well. There’s a way for us to be cleansed. There is a way for us to put on “clean” and perfection. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us to “put on incorruption” and to “put on immortality” and “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Romans 13 says to “put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is only through Jesus that we can be seen as Holy, because Jesus is perfection.
Yes, I still cringe when I look at God’s definition of straight and my definition of “close enough.” I come to a quick conclusion that I can never be perfect. If God is expecting perfection from me, He’s not going to find it. Does that mean I quit trying? What it means, is that I need another way. We all do.
That Way is Jesus. Jesus himself said in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
I’ve raised up Jesus as the TRUTH. God raised him from the dead to prove that what he said was true.
I can’t find a better straight-edge on which to build my life, can you?
Pastor Jay Merritt
Pastor Jay Merritt writes about God in every day observations.