A 13 inch Ruler
If I was to ask you how many inches are in a foot, what would your answer be? How many would answer 13? If I was to ask you how many feet in a mile, what would your answer be? How many would answer 4,873.85? Are these answers correct, wrong, or is there even a correct answer to these questions?
If you are like most people you would answer the first question with the number 12 and the second question with the number 5,280. Why? The reason is there is a standard of measurement that says that there are 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, and so many yards make up a mile, etc. These standards are not up for debate, they are non-negotiable. When it comes to measurements, there are no 13 inch rulers.
In Words We Live By, Brian Burrell tells of an armed robber named Dennis Lee Curtis who was arrested in 1992 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Curtis apparently had scruples about his thievery. In his wallet the police found a sheet of paper on which was written the following code:
- I will not kill anyone unless I have to.
- I will take cash and food stamps—no checks.
- I will rob only at night.
- I will not wear a mask.
- I will not rob mini-marts or 7-Eleven stores.
- If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.
- I will rob only seven months out of the year.
- I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
This thief had a sense of morality, but it was flawed. When he stood before the court, he was not judged by the standards he had set for himself, but by the higher law of the state. Likewise when we stand before God, we will not be judged by the code of morality we have written for ourselves, but by God’s perfect law.
As we begin to understand the prophet principle, we must first start with the understanding that God has a set of standards, His perfect law is what all other standards must be judged by. Each and every person has a set of standards, whether in plenty or lack, we all have them and God in His righteousness and justice will judge every man accordingly. He will judge each man by the same standards; His. There will not be a 13 inch ruler.
Restraint or Restriction
What comes to mind when you think of standards? Does the word standard have a positive or negative connotation when you hear it? Are you restrained or restricted by your standards? The way that you would answer these questions is solely dependent on how you view the role that your standards play in your life. Are you living life according to Gods standards, are you allowing your standards to be formed relative to how you feel, what circumstance you are in, or by what popular culture would dictate.
We live in a culture that has become so infatuated with the idea of freedom that to an extent the true meaning has become obscure, faint, and incomplete; stretching the borders of what is morally acceptable behavior in the sight of God. Freedom is defined as exemption from external control and the power to determine action without restraint. This definition seems harmless, however, without the proper standards that are absolute true freedom is not created. Instead it’s a misaligned concept of reality with the result being confusion and chaos.
Freedom does not bring restriction, but creates an environment in which restraint is enacted. An environment where the essence of freedom can be experienced and enjoyed to its fullest. Freedom was not man’s idea, but God’s. God’s intention for us is that we would live life abundantly.
Genesis 2:16-17, And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
God gave Adam freedom in the garden. Adam could eat from every tree in the garden that he wanted to including the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, his choice would not come without consequence. Larry Stocksill says that “Choices without consequences bring confusion.” God was clear in His instruction to Adam—there could be no confusion as to what would happen (the consequence) when Adam would eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil—that God commanded him to have restraint from.
Restriction or Restraint? Which would you use to best describe this scenario in the Garden of Eden in application to your life? Restraint would mean that you are allowing your life to be governed by standards—standards set by God that are absolute and true—allowing the freedom to enjoy all that God has and created especially for you (the rest of the Garden). Restriction, however, would mean that all of the freedom that God has given and all that He has created especially for you, is not good enough and that you desire what you want (the tree of knowledge of good and evil).
The Role of the Prophet
The role of the prophet was and is to be a representative of God to the people. The prophet was to speak not what he wanted and desired, but was to speak the message that God wanted. The intent of the message was always to effect social change. This change was for the people to conform to God’s standards. When we truly conform to His standards will we experience life as He created it for us.
Results of Standards
What is the effect and result of adhering to true Godly standards according to the word of God? What effect do they have?
- Standards create boundaries.
- Standards create stability.
- Standards create security.
- Standards create growth.
- Standards create freedom.
- Standards create relationship.
- Standards create protection.
As men, we must reclaim this principle—the prophet principle, enforcing God’s standards—not only in our churches but in our homes. When we do, we will change the atmosphere and create an environment conducive to growth, freedom, protection and stability. We must enforce God’s standards found in His word, not what we think or feel are His principles (the 13 inch ruler).
Other Scriptures to Consider
- Philippians 4:8
- Colossians 2:8
- Colossians 3:1-2
- Colossians 3:12-17
- Galatians 5:16-26
- Ephesians 5:1-11