some of you are so bugged right now.
you cannot understand how it’s possible that i’ve typed this entire blog post in lower case.
the only thing worse in your mind would be if i had mixed it up and done some upper and some lower. not title case. just random capitalizations When i wanted to.
all of you english majors should have flipped and stopped reading by now.
it’s just too much.
doesn’t she know the rules?
doesn’t she care?
how can she think i can care about the content when her presentation of such content is all wrong?
so, in your mind there are some absolutes? some of you are surprised. with the ebb and flow of life and culture, it’s difficult to hold anything to a standard. most of life seems to be a moving target. or is it? the more i dig into scripture, which i believe to be the word of God passed down to us to help us see that Jesus is the focus of our story and that God has given us the assistance of the Holy Spirit and His Word as a guide to help us evaluate and navigate life, the more i like it. a standard does exist and is found.
when building any structure, you must have a plumb line. merriam-webster defines a plumb line a couple of ways: a line directed to the center of gravity of the earth; a vertical line.
without a vertical standard, a building can’t be centered and true. without a standard, the whole structure can be off. the higher you go in building, the less “true” it becomes and the higher the risk of failure. the top of the structure is inevitably off without the base of the structure being on point.
let’s face it, we all hope to have successful lives. we want more than anything to get to the end of life on earth and know that something we invested in, believed in and lived for mattered. we hope and pray that our kids will turn out decent, that our businesses will flourish, that our lives will matter to someone else, and that our time here on earth wasn’t wasted, but invested. hope is a powerful thing for sure and it definitely gives life to our bones to hope in something greater than ourselves, but hope alone without an absolute standard and measure may not be enough. what we all need is a firm hope. something sure. something we can count on and know that when we place trust in that person or thing, it will result in the outcome we are all believing for. i believe that standard is Jesus and His Word. to the degree we build according to his standard, we succeed.
i’m guessing at this point, many of you agree that He is the standard, and yet, we feel like we fall short. why can’t we seem to measure up? how can we build up in our lives if we can’t even seem to align to the measure to start with?
in my life, most of these questions are answered in honest evaluation of my belief. do i, at the core of me, believe that He is “true” and that His ways can be trusted? do i believe that His standard is THE standard, or am i consumed with the idea that my standard (and lack thereof at times) is pretty great also. do i trust/depend on the plumb line? what is God’s plumb line?
here are some plumb line basics..
1. kindness. no judgment. Romans 2:1- 4
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So, when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
God’s kindness leads us to repentance. He made a way to forgive us. His standard of holiness was kept in the sacrifice of Jesus, but He was willing to pay everything including His Son so that we could live. His kindness toward us is monumental. He moved toward us with a gracious plan of Jesus before we could ever even say we were even interested or before we could certainly initiate that we needed help. God’s kindness changed everything for us.
yet, we can often think that our judgment of self and humanity will lead to the result or repentance that we hope for with others. it’s doubtful. making people who are already guilty feel shame isn’t super effective in initiating their return to their intended purpose. kindness. try kindness. be considerate and understanding. you don’t have to bend the standard to understand. you’re not saying it’s okay, you’re acknowledging that i get how the person could sin. we aren’t so busy judging their failure that we fail to acknowledge our own.
2. forgiveness. Colossians 3:12-14
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
forgiveness isn’t just for others, the offenders. it’s also for us, the offended. once we are clothed in the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience that God provided, forgiving each other is just remembering where our clothes came from. it’s recalling that without the grace of God, we too were up a creek, so to speak. forgiveness doesn’t lower the standard, it maintains it. we forgive because we were forgiven.
3. mission. Matthew 18:12-14
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety- nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”
sometimes, like you, i forget what i’m here for. the seemingly urgent and mundane seems to be dominant and blinding. i spend the majority of my time, energy and resources dealing with the stuff of earth, the here and now, the not so important, while i’m called to the have eyes toward the eternal. i want so badly for God to re-align my vision. i want His urgency to be mine. i want to wake up, spend my days and go to sleep thinking and living the things that He says last. i want my heart to be about the things that move His heart. when He says He’s willing to leave the sheep that are doing okay to go and get the one in trouble, i want also to live the same way. when He says He cares that not one wanders off, i then don’t want to be all focused only on the few who are gathered up.
God, please help us re-align to your plumb line today. we want our heart to beat with yours and we want our lives to be built according to your standard. have mercy on us, we pray.
Shelley Giglio is a Texas native who now calls Atlanta home. She and her husband, Louie, co-founded Passion Conferences in 1997 and planted Passion City Church in 2009 which now has multiple locations in Atlanta and Washington DC. Additionally, Shelley is the Chief Strategist for Passion, Inc. and Director of Label Operations and Artist Management for sixstepsrecords. One of Shelley’s primary callings is raising up the next generation of leaders in church and culture, and she’s committed to equipping them to thrive in all God has created them to be. Shelley is the Lead Visionary for The Grove, a gathering for the women of Atlanta, as well as Flourish, a mentoring journey for the women at Passion City Church. Shelley and Louie love traveling the globe, hanging out with their golden doodle, London, and spending time at her families’ ranch.
Follow Shelley on Instagram @shelleygiglio