Jesus Christ is the plumb line for our lives
Published 12:22 pm Friday, December 30, 2005
As the construction worker needs the measure of the plumb line to see if his work is straight and true, so we need to continually measure our life practices by the life of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul issues a stern warning in the New Testament epistle to the Colossians. In chapter 2, verse 8, Paul says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
The human condition is characterized by the desires to control and accumulate. The issues of status, security, and performance are all intertwined in the drive to get all we can and keep all we get. The life of Jesus Christ is diametrically opposed to the normal drives of human nature.
We love philosophy; we prefer it over truth. Empty deceit is only empty in our minds when it bolsters someone else, but we are easy victims for self-aggrandizement. The traditions of men form cultures, produce social structures, and establish people. We desire to be in the right crowd.
The basic principles of the world are ambition, greed, and force. Distill it all down and those who are successful in this world have, to some degree, practiced those three principles.
Apart from deep and consistent infusions from the Word of God and direct applications from the life of Jesus Christ, we easily follow the way Paul warned us against.
The life of Jesus Christ is the plumb line to keep us straight. Jesus encountered these struggles among His closest followers.
On several occasions, there were disputes among the Apostles as to who would be greatest. Jesus countered their thoughts and discussion with this statement in the gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verses 25-26, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.”
Jesus responded to the ambition of two of His disciples in Matthew, chapter 20, verse 28, by providing the proper example to be followed: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The hallmark biblical passage on the mindset of Jesus Christ that we must emulate if we are to be godly is in Paul's epistle to the Philippians, chapter 2, verses 5-8. Jesus Christ is God. He did not consider it improper or robbery to be equal with God. From the lofty position, He “made Himself of no reputation.” Everything that would recommend Jesus to the world, He laid aside. He had no references, nor any letters of commendation. He “[took] the form of a bondservant.”
From the position of a bondservant to God, Jesus took on the likeness of men. That does not sound too degrading to us, but Jesus came from heaven's glory to all the limitations of a human being.
Then, “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself.” Jesus Christ as man was the most capable man ever. He was winsome, skilled, articulate, etc. But even as a man, Jesus humbled Himself to the lowest point any human could go. He “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Death was bad enough, but death on a cross was a curse. In other words, even in death Jesus Christ was the off-scouring of the world.
What does the plumb line of the life of Christ reveal about our lives?
0ne more thing: Jesus did not stay dead. God raised Him up and exalted Him!