READ: Amos 7-9
THINK: Happy New Year! Every new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start, a new opportunity to live differently. As you consider the year ahead, and all that 2014 will mean for you, I have just a short thought and challenge for you:
The vision in Amos 7:1-9 has always been a compelling one for me, particularly because of the part where God holds up a plumb line. For anyone who may be unfamiliar, a plumb line is a very simple yet very critical part of building or constructing anything. It is a weight, of some sort, tied to a string. When you hold the top of the string and allow gravity to do its work, the weight will cause the string to hang straight down. And you can be sure that what you are building is straight by lining it up with the plumb line.
In the days of Amos, Israel aligned themselves with foreign nations and foreign gods. Much the Leaning Tower of Pisa above, their hearts, minds, and lives were not square with God’s design. My question for you in 2014 is: What will be your plumb line this year? What will be your standard, your benchmark, your guide for making decisions in the coming year?
You have a lot of options. For many of us, the approval of others is our plumb line. We make choices based on what we think our friends, neighbors, coworkers, or classmates would like best and consider cool. For others it’s worldly success – money, power, or fame. For still others it’s popular culture, achievement, selfish ambition, the words of some guru, or the avoidance of pain or difficulty. For so many, it’s our feelings. We make decisions based on whatever we feel will make us happy in the moment. And maybe we use all of the plumb lines listed above at various times whenever it’s convenient to justify doing whatever we feel like. Think about your life and your choices over the last year. What have you been using as a guide?
The truth is that none of those things is a working plumb line. Every one of them will align you with something that is far less than God’s design and plan and call for your life. In 2014 I challenge you to use God’s Word as your plumb line. Let the Bible be your guide and your standard in the decisions that you make, even in the moments where it conflicts with what you want to do and it’s uncomfortable for you. Every good contractor knows that if you trust your eye over the plumb line you’ll end up with serious problems. In the same way, if you trust your feelings over God’s Word you’ll end up with a heart, mind, and life that is aligned with something other than him.
LIVE: Today, make a New Years resolution to live with Scripture as your plumb line in 2014. Suggestion: Go find some sort of small object – an old key, a weight, a pendant, or anything else with a little weight to it – and tie a string to it. Place your newly constructed plumb line somewhere where you will see it often over the course of the next year and be reminded that God has given us an incredible gift in his self-revealing Word which allows us to line up our lives with him and be the people he called us to be.
PRAY: Admit to God that you’ve used insufficient standards to guide your decision making in the past. Ask him to help you line up your life with him in the coming year.