Measuring Up

by Jenny Harrison

“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.”
~~George Washington Carver

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will   is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 (NIV84)

Over the years, I have delighted in watching my husband perform his trade as a master cabinet maker. His patience, attentiveness to detail, and pride in his work are rare qualities in this day and time. Dale can take what looks like a random pile of lumber and produce a masterpiece suitable of being a potential heirloom. To say that I am in awe of his skills is truly an understatement.

Dale, my personal craftsman, has the ability to determine measurements with speed and accuracy. If his calculations are off, even slightly, it affects his final product. And though faulty measurements may not always appear to negatively impact his handiwork, a closer examination will usually reveal a compromised structure. With time and continued use these flaws are ultimately detrimental to the framework and function.

Considering this process motivates me to think about how “faulty measurements” in my own life can tear away at my personal framework, as well. It seems all too easy to be consumed with praise and approval from the world. The problem is this is never quite dependable.

When I choose to adopt public opinion as a measuring stick for self value and worth my inner structure— my heart, my soul, my mind are compromised, and my internal framework begins to deteriorate at its core. The Bible clearly speaks of this type of praise.

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:18 (NIV 82)

What standards do you typically use to measure your worth and success? I have managed to rate my worth from a grade-point average, a number on the scale, or how many items I can check off my (insignificant) “to do” list.

I can imagine my sweet Lord saying, “My dear child, you are totally not getting it! The measurements that impress the world mean nothing to me. Only when you use all I have given you to labor for my cause   will you build a strong internal framework, one that will stand the test of time and be worthy of passing from one generation to the next.”

Dearest Lord and Savior, I come to you now asking for divine wisdom that comes from you and you alone. I no longer desire to conform to the standards and pattern of the world and yet in my weak moments I tend to run back to that old unhealthy but familiar place. My faulty methods of self measurement leave me weak, void, and tend to fill my heart with despair. Precious Savior please renew my spirit so that my internal structure measures up to what is truly important–your good and perfect will. In your most Holy name I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2012, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Quote from George Washington Carver. Bible scripture taken from NIV84.

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