God’s Metric

Tags: Knowing God
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God’s Metric
God’s Metric will help you to properly align yourself with God’s standard of measurement for your success. Make sure you are aligned!

God’s Metric

One man has many children, but another man could not have any children, for God did not give him any. Is the man with many children to be envied above the man with none? Is this a metric (way of measuring) that God employs? It certainly is a metric which man employs there is no doubt about that! For man will tell you of his achievements, as to whether or not he was able to finish the Boston marathon. But what if you were not able to finish the Boston marathon? What if you never ran, because you do not have any legs? Nick Vujicic does not have any legs, and neither does he have any arms, but I can assure you, he is just as significant to God as the man who can swim the English channel! (Speaking of channels, you can check out Nick’s channel here! https://nickvujicic.com/)

Joni Eareckson Tada doesn’t run (she doesn’t even walk). She suffered from a debilitating accident when she was younger. She spends her days in a wheelchair. Is she any less a person, is she any less valuable to God, is she any less significant, and should she have any less joy and meaning and purpose and zeal for living, because she spends her days in a wheelchair? May it never be! (She paints with her mouth and is an excellent artist!) She is just as valuable, just as significant to God, just as impressive, as the man, or the woman, who has run the Boston marathon!

What then defines your meaning? What about the woman who had an abortion, and who remembers her decision and regrets it? Will this woman ever find meaning? Is there hope for her? Has she blown it beyond all measure, because she wilfully took the life of her child? Must she wake up forever to face thoughts of condemnation? Can she find no meaning, no hope, no forgiveness, even, because of what she did in the past? Perhaps she was pressured into it, by doctors, who said to her, “It is just tissue.” Medical science today shows that it is not “just tissue.” But the point remains, should she feel like any less of a person, or less valuable to God, because of what happened in the past? May it never be! She can find new meaning, she can find new hope, she can find everlasting joy and peace in the God who died for her, when he wilfully gave himself up on the cross, so that she might be forgiven.

So then it is fine to run the Boston marathon. No one will condemn you for it. And if you have many children and many grandchildren, surely no one will condemn you for that, too. And if you can paint with your hands instead of with your mouth, then by all means do that. May God bless you in the process. Surely he wants you to “do all things well,” even as Jesus did all things well (see Mark 7:37). But if you should you say in your heart, “I am somebody because I have done these things, I am better even than the man who has no arms and no legs, because God’s judgment is upon him, because God did not give him arms and legs, and he has deemed me better and more deserving than him, I am better even, than the woman who aborted her child, because I did not make that decision I am smarter than that!” If that is your way of thinking, if that is your summary of the matter, if that is your conclusion, then what about God’s conclusion? For this is God’s conclusion:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, KJV)

So how are you doing in terms of secret sins? How is your thought life? If you are like that man who says, “I am better because ...” then your thought life is not doing too well! You have become trapped. You have become ensnared. Is God leading you in these thoughts of how great you are and of all your wonderful accomplishments?

For what could you accomplish in the first place, without God enabling you to do so? Do you not realize that your life is in God’s hands, and that it is he, and not yourself, who has given you the ability to do all that you have done? For what makes you better than your neighbor, who has utterly failed at accomplishing all that you have accomplished? Have you lived his life? Have you experienced his struggles? Have you been tormented by his demons? Do you know the agony that he has suffered? Surely, you must, because you boast of being better than he! But are you really? Are you really any better than a dead dog? And if so, why? Can you answer me this single question?

Why are you any better than a dead dog, or a rabbit that has been pierced by an arrow, that is ready to be cooked over a stove?

How is it that you can boast of any accomplishments, when it is God himself who has given you everything that you have, and who has even hemmed you in on every side, so that you should not taste suffering? Are you better than Job, who was afflicted? Surely, God had “made a hedge around him” (see Job 1:10), but then during his time of testing, some of those sovereign restrictions were suddenly lifted (see Job 1:12). All of Job’s children (that is seven of them) suddenly died on the same day (see Job 1:18-19). That was a test. And his wife remained, yet she criticized him.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still maintain your integrity? Renounce God, and die.” (Job 2:9)

That, too, was a test!

How would you fare if every one of your children were suddenly taken away from you on the same day, even? Would you then boast in your children, in how great they are, and how great you are, for having raised them? Are you really thinking through your life correctly, I mean, biblically? Biblically, you have not a leg to stand on, in thinking that you are such a great person for raising such great children. For what did Jesus say?

“Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)

That is to be your disposition before the Lord at all times, as opposed to this corrupted way of thinking, “I am a great person, and I have accomplished great things, because of such and such.” Should you not rather be on your knees in prayer, wailing over the losses of others, and pleading with God, like Moses the intercessor pled with God, and like Jeremiah the intercessor pled with God, and like Daniel the intercessor pled with God, and like Nehemiah the intercessor pled with God, saying,

“Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may listen to the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants, while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:6)

Who sinned? The people? No! For Nehemiah said, “I and my father’s house have sinned.” So then, there was no “boast” in all that he had accomplished rather, there was a responsibility to be fulfilled, which was to live godly for the Lord, so that Nehemiah could be used in great ways. For what is the past, except a memory? Is it something to boast in?

Did not Nebuchadnezzar boast in his past? Where did it get him? For he said,

“Is not this great Babylon, which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (see Daniel 4:30)

Was God pleased with his thinking? In the very next verse, we read,

While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from the sky, saying, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: ‘The kingdom has departed from you. You shall be driven from men; and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass as oxen. Seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he will.’” (Daniel 4:31-32)

So then, what place is there for boasting?

None.

You are merely a servant of God a created being. Did you make yourself? You do not even have the power to create a single cell in your body! Should a dog boast in its abilities to chase rabbits? Should a cat boast in its abilities to catch birds? Do bees boast in their abilities to make honey? Can you make honey? Surely, you can not even fly like a bee. You can only marvel (if you are wise) in the abilities that God has given to bees, and insects, and all creatures, to be able to do what they can do. Do they boast in such abilities? Should they? Why do humans? This is madness! Surely, you eat the honey produced by the bees, but you fail to give glory to God for giving the bees the ability to do that. Here is the evidence for your failure to do that: you boast in your own accomplishments, and think they amount to anything. You are boasting, because your standards are so low. You have set a bar that is attainable by human standards. That is your problem. Your bar is way to low. It is not God’s bar. God’s bar is perfection. Have you reached it yet? Neither will you reach it in this life.

The Bar

Daniel was a man who knew about the bar, and he knew he had not reached it, nor that he would reach it, even as hard as he tried. For he prayed to God, saying,

“we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from your precepts and from your ordinances.” (Daniel 9:5)

And again, he says,

“While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before Yahweh my God for the holy mountain of my God.” (Daniel 9:20)

Who sinned? Merely the people? No! For he said, “we have sinned,” and, “my sin and the sin of my people.” It could not be more clear. Daniel’s attitude was not that he was any better than anyone else, for he knew that his heart had sinful tendencies. Therefore, why would you give yourself a pat on the back, because of any of your accomplishments? Are you better than Daniel? Are you more holy than he? Can you boast of greater things than he could? Should you not rather be humbled? Then why should we boast, as though we had achieved anything at all? What folly is that?! For what does the word say?

Is there any reason to consider yourselves better than others? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If you received it as a gift, why do you boast like it is something you achieved on your own? (1 Corinthians 4:7, VOICE)

While it is true that the Bible says we are to give honor to whom honor is due (see Romans 13:7), it also says,

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

In short, the Bible says not to boast! For that is an example of vanity. You are not vain, are you?

Paul summarized this thought in the following way:

But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

Surely, you are not better than Paul, are you? Paul wrote a vast amount of Scripture. It is arguably the highest call that any human being can accomplish, for this Scripture leads people into eternal salvation. Who can compare themselves to Paul? Yet Paul refused to boast in his accomplishments! He could not, because he knew that decision would be fatal. Paul did what he was entrusted to do that is all. Paul also referred to himself as, “the chief of sinners” (see 1 Timothy 1:15), and confessed, saying,

“I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.” (Acts 22:4)

So then, you boast, because you never did that, right? So you are better than Paul, right? That is your thinking. But your real problem is that you are not close enough to God, like Paul was, to even see yourself clearly, because you are still comparing yourself to others, according to human accomplishments, and not according to the truth of your own heart. What then is the truth? The truth is:

The heart is deceitful above all things and it is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

A man named Herod was just like you and I. Yes, he was a king, but underneath all that clothing was just human skin, and a sinful heart. What is underneath your clothing? If we were to strip you naked, and take away your degrees, and your human accomplishments, and you were to stand up against the measuring line of God’s word, how would you fare?

Herod made a mistake! Don’t you make the same mistake! His mistake was: he believed what people said about him, and refused to line himself up with the word of God. Therefore, God struck him, and he died.

On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. The people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn’t give God the glory. Then he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23)

This is the just reward of all those who fail to give God the glory for all they have, all they have accomplished, all they ever will accomplish, and all that they could ever be.

And what about the early disciples of Jesus? Were they permitted to boast in anything at all? What did Jesus say? First, he said to them,

“Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

But then he warned them, saying,

“Nevertheless, don’t rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

Let us then do likewise, and realize that all we have been given comes from above, even as we read in James.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. (James 1:17)

Paul himself knew that he had a tendency to want to boast. It was not above him! So the minute we think we have arrived, we have already fallen. Instead, we must be mindful that at any turn, the tempter (that is Satan) may provide us with ample suggestions to “think highly of ourselves,” which we should not do. That is pride, and that was Satan’s downfall. These temptations come in a subtle way, as people praise you, and say you are such a wonderful person. Yes, the tempter will even put the words in other people’s mouths! Be careful! Jesus received none of that!

“I do not receive glory from men.” (John 5:41)

He ignored all those words, and pressed on with fulfilling God’s mission, which was death on a cross! Had he not, he would have failed!

To remedy the situation of self-glory, Paul wrote,

“but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

In another passage, he writes,

“I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31)

Paul had to die to his flesh (that is, take up his cross daily) and so do we (see Luke 9:23). Instead of saying what great things he had done, he continually pointed people to the cross. That is our job! So then in summary, it is good to do well in life, and not make any mistakes at all. Yet Satan will tell you that you are such a great person because of it. And that is a trap.

If is fine to be a king, if God puts you in that position. But remember to give God the glory! And stop comparing yourself to other people, or putting a stumbling block in other people’s way, when you boast of your accomplishments, because that leads to coveting, which is a sin. Furthermore, the man who has been crushed may, in the end, achieve far more than the man who has achieved great things! For have you never read Psalm 73? This Psalm applies to all those who forget God and like Herod refuse to give him the glory.

Surely you set them in slippery places. You throw them down to destruction. How they are suddenly destroyed! They are completely swept away with terrors. (Psalm 73:18-19)

Therefore, let us all the more remember to give God praise for all that we have, all that we have accomplished, and all that we shall ever become, whether in this life, or the next.

Do not stop praising him!

I will bless Yahweh at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth. My soul shall boast in Yahweh. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify Yahweh with me. Let’s exalt his name together. I sought Yahweh, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to him, and were radiant. Their faces shall never be covered with shame. This poor man cried, and Yahweh heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. Yahweh’s angel encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh taste and see that Yahweh is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:1-8)

 

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