When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (2 Cor. 10:12)
Expanded Passage: 2 Corinthians 10:1–18
On the first day of school, my kids stand against our measuring board on the wall and we mark how tall each one is on that day. They love to see how much they have grown in comparison to their siblings, and to compare how tall they were at the same age. I remind them that it only matters how each one is growing individually—as a sign of their health and that each one is different—but they tend to focus on how their measuring lines stack up against each other.
As Paul was confronting the challenges put before him, he reminded the church that comparison is a dangerous game. The standard is Christ, not ourselves or anyone else. Paul’s responsibility was to be faithful to God, not to make sure he was better than others. If Paul had used the actions of others as his plumb line, he would have missed the mark for meeting the expectations Christ had for him.
The sign of our spiritual health is not how we are growing and serving in comparison to others. Our standard must always be Jesus. When we prove our faithfulness by being more upright than our fellow Christians, we move the standing and give ourselves a false sense of accomplishment. It is only by comparing ourselves to Christ that we will know how we measure up.
We can’t become Christlike when our standard is someone else.
Carla Working is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. She serves as the Crossroads District’s chief operations officer (Indiana) and co-pastors with her husband.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.