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Suppose you're building a doghouse for Tiny, your Great Dane. The blueprints call for six pieces of wood; each needs to be four carrots long. Raiding the refrigerator, you pull out a few carrots. Hmm. Slight problem here. All these carrots are different lengths. Should you use a long carrot or a short one?
None of us would think of measuring with a carrot, would we? But believe it or not, people at one time used all sorts of things to measure length and weight. Seeds and stones were used to measure weight. Arms, hands, feet, and fingers were used as guidelines to measure length.
As you can imagine, people had the same problem with seeds, stones, and body parts that you had with carrots! None of these give consistent measurements. How did people solve this problem?
They came up with a standard, a model to base all their measurements on. At first, a king's foot, arm, hand, and fingers became the guidelines for length. Eventually, though, a better system of measurement was invented. In the late 1700s the French developed a uniform method for measuring amounts. This grew into the modern metric system now used by nearly everyone around the world. Length is measured in meters; weight is measured in newtons. Today these are part of the International System of Units—abbreviated SI—that doesn't change. The SI also includes standards for time, temperature, electrical current, and the brightness of light.
NOTE: metric: (MEH-trik) comes from the Greek word "metron," which means "measure"
Eventhough the metric system is used around the world, most people in the United States still don't use it for everyday measurements. Instead, pounds are used to figure out how much something weighs. Inches measure length. Inches are based on an old Roman system. The width of one thumb is about one inch. Twelve thumbs fit into the length of a human's foot, and three feet fit in one yard.
The inch-pound system is the everyday standard in the United States, but American scientists use the metric system. Can you figure out why? One reason is scientists work a lot with numbers and quantities. If scientists from the United States used the inch-pound system, scientists from the rest of the world wouldn't understand a thing they were talking about! Using the same standard gets rid of confusion. Plus, the metric system is easier to use.
Just as there is one standard that scientists use for measuring our physical world, God has one standard for our lives, as well. Do you have some ideas about what that standard could be?
Is it being good? Being nice? Being honest all the time? Being faithful about going to church?
These are all good things, but they aren't God's standard for us. God's standard is Jesus.
Having Jesus as our standard can seem scary! Deep down in our hearts, all of us know that even our best efforts could ever measure up to Jesus. He is perfect all the time.
Not living up to God's standard makes us His enemies. So what's the answer?
The answer is to stop trying to reach the standard by our own efforts. Instead, believe in Jesus. God is kind to us. He knew we could never be perfect like Jesus. That's why He makes us able to measure up to the standard by giving us Jesus' perfect life.
It's amazing and exciting that God gave us a standard and then put the standard inside us so we can live it. What a relief!
Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory. The free gift of God's grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. God gave him as a sacrifice to pay for sins. So he forgives the sins of those who have faith in his blood. Romans 3:23-25a
Thought to remember:
Jesus' life makes me able to live up to God's standard.
Isaiah 64:6; Ezekiel 36:26-27 (niv); Colossians 1:21-22; 2 Timothy 1:9
SIDEBAR: Long ago in Egypt, the arm and fingers were used to measure length.
Discover for yourself how the old-fashioned way of measuring causes confusion, grab a friend, a ruler, a pencil, and a piece of paper. Make two columns. Put your name at the top of one column and your friend's name at the top of the other. Record the following measurements for your friend and yourself. Measure:
How do your measurements compare? Why is it important to use a standard unit of measurement?
Our Place in Space and 59 More Ways to See God Through His Creation
Copyright © 2001, B.J. Reinhard