The measure of a man...
Our society tends to take the measure of a man by what he’s accomplished, the titles that he holds, the size of his paycheck, and the material possessions that he’s accumulated. While there is certainly nothing wrong with any of these things, we have to question if they are, independently or collectively the true measure of a man. Do they really define who he is, what he is, or what he’s done in life?
Another way of measuring a man is the smile on his face and the manner in which he greets people. Genuine smiles, warms hellos, and signs of affection (hugs and handshakes) are more often than not the trademarks of a man who is happy with himself. Still, even this method leaves room for error. Many people wear smiles, offer warm hellos, and greet others with signs of affection as a means of acquiring the things listed in the first category. Then too, many who wear smiles are masking their true feelings, which are anything but happy. I remember this one far too well.
The most accurate yardstick is the one used to see what is in a man’s heart. For obvious reasons, it’s also the most difficult to apply. You see, only the proprietor of a heart and God knows what’s truly in it.
Psalm 49 is very clear in cautioning us about those things which we hold in highest esteem.
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies….16-17 NIV A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish. 29 NIV
THE MESSAGE version of Psalm 49:29 is even blunter in referring to our fate:
We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long. Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.
We die, and we don’t take anything with us when we go. Not the titles. Not the money. Not the material possessions. Not a thing. The adage “You can’t take it with you” is based on fact.
So what are we saying here? That it’s a bad thing to have the finer things in life, like money, a nice house, or a fancy car? Of course not! What’s of most importance is having God, first and foremost, in your heart. And even more than that, it’s having His wisdom and understanding in your mind.
Where do we find this understanding?
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord—Isaiah 11:2
True understanding is given to us when we receive the Holy Spirit. We cannot fully understand or comprehend the depth of God’s love for us until we’re filled by the Holy Spirit. We cannot know the love of Jesus and feel the pain of his sacrifice for us until we walk with the Holy Spirit. We can never protect ourselves from the relentless attacks of Satan without the armor of God that is given to us by the Holy Spirit.
We can never fully be what God intended us to be, or discover and live out our true purpose for being here, or “walk the walk” that God intended for us unless we walk with His Spirit in our minds and in our hearts. Only then will we know the true measure of ourselves.
How will people take a measure of you today? Do you think it would be based on what you have, or the smile on your face, or what’s in your heart?
How do you measure yourself?