The use of a plumb line is especially important in the context of general construction and carpentry. The term ‘plumb’ refers to a line that is perfectly vertical. The importance of steel beams being perfectly plumb is what helps keep huge skyscrapers upright. A few degrees out can have serious consequences to the rest of the building, as some of the weight is then off-centre and will apply additional stress, which in turn can even end in the building toppling down. Just thinking about the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ in Italy explains a lot.
I found this particularly relevant to our own lives and the decisions we make. What is our plumb line or the starting point for how we are living? We all have convictions that become the truths we live by. Sometimes these convictions are uplifting and even inspiring. We settle into these truths and live good lives, especially when they are also acceptable in our culture or community.
Sadly, some people have convictions that originate from trauma and hurt, and they live by their own set of truths to protect themselves. Their truth could be that no person can be trusted, or that they are not worthy, or that life has no hope. Sometimes we form convictions because of other people’s opinions, which we find judgemental, so we build up a resistance and form our own truth because of resentment.
Our truth determines our way of living. But where do these truths originate from? There is always a starting point, and this is so important, because we are aligning ourselves with someone or something. If we are not aligning ourselves with God’s truth, then we are ‘out of plumb’.
And as the building that topples on an unexpected day because of it not being built correctly from the start, so we are starting off out of balance. Over time, more areas of our lives are affected, and eventually our convictions are not in line with God’s truth as found in His word. Just as a building needs inspection every so often, we would do well to regularly ask the Lord which of our self-made truths are not in line with His truth. Even the ones that seem good may not necessarily be His will for our lives.
By His grace there is always hope and restoration in Him. ‘He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged’ (Isaiah 42:3, NLT). God’s word brings truth, and it brings healing. ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).
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