Overcoming “The Plumb Line Is Wrong” Philosophy

Have you ever looked at a vertical wall and thought it was straight, only to learn it wasn’t?  No matter the construction materials being used, a wall tilting at an angle (however slightly) compromises a structure’s integrity.  Laser technology for building is impressive, but God’s laws of gravity still work perfectly with a good, old-fashioned plumb line to check a structure’s vertical alignment.

I’ve watched my husband, Brad, use a plumb line often.  He’ll affix a thin, nylon string or line to a nail on the top side of a wall and add a weight to the other end, letting it dangle a few inches from the ground floor.  If there are no winds moving the string or protrusions between the top of the line and the weight at the bottom, the plumb line shows the builder what true vertical is.  Measures can then be taken to “plumb” or straighten the wall under construction.

So often, we can seek encouragement or solace from sources which look or sound right to us, but don’t necessarily line up with what God states in His word, the Bible.  And what do we find ourselves thinking (or have others telling us) if and when our thoughts, ideas, or plans for assessing a situation don’t perfectly align with the Bible?  The answer to that question is easy to find because we see it in practice all around us.  We may determine what we believe to be right or true (that is, our wall seems straight) and if those beliefs differ from what the Bible reveals, we think it must be the Bible that is off the mark for that particular issue. We assume we don’t need a plumb line or determine the Bible is unreliable serving as one.  And lives are tottering or crumbling around us even as we fail to intellectually or spiritually understand why this is. This is of critical importance, and here’s why: If we have crooked walls in our minds and hearts, they’re harmful and we need to know it.  And in the shifting winds of popular opinion, psychology, religion, and what seems right to us, we desperately need the plumb line – true measurement of things – from God (see Proverbs 14:12). Consider:

  • Are there any leaning walls in sermons? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in Christian music? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in Christian blogs, podcasts, movies, etc.? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in inspiring books? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in counseling? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in Bible commentaries? Yes.
  • Are there any leaning walls in the words of friends, family members, or colleagues? Yes.

In the prior Encouragement That Lasts release, we talked about preparing ourselves for what could be a messy, sweaty process of accepting invasive truth into our hearts and minds. We may not think it encouraging to discover we have “inner walls” that don’t align with what God has to say.  But let’s think about this for a moment.  Wouldn’t we prefer to have a medical provider know exactly what physical problem we’re experiencing, who communicates truthfully what it is, and then provides us with the option of receiving a life-saving remedy?

God provides the remedy we need: the Bible. We may think of it as an inanimate object (mere words on a page or screen), but the Bible contains the words of God. They are always relevant, with the power to straighten our inner walls (Proverbs 3:5-6). They serve as a light to our paths, should we so desire (Psalm 119:105). They bestow wisdom to those who seek it (Proverbs 2:6). And they reveal to us the truth of Who God is (see Numbers 23:19) and how we can have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-27a) when, in and of ourselves, we would have no hope of such relationship (Romans 7:18-19).

How perfect is God’s Word – always!  I love the way Proverbs 3:5-6 tackles, straight on (pardon the pun), exactly what we’re talking about:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Isn’t this wonderful?  We’re given truth to strengthen us and point us in the right direction, not to burden us with guilt!  This means when we find our hearts pounding in trepidation because we’re face to face with areas of our lives which are out of alignment with God’s Word, we’re given the right medicine or treatment to cure the real problem.

Trust in the Lord… with all your heart, _______! [use your own name here]  

And do NOT lean on your own understanding, _______!  [use your name here]  

In ALL your ways, _______,  [use your own name here] acknowledge Him… use the plumb line!

And, _______, [use your own name here] He WILL make your paths straight!

Here we are again, face to face with the intense, personal involvement of God Almighty with us, His individual creations.  He knows us, loves us, and invites us into intimacy and trust with Him. And He’s willing to change our crooked paths or walls into straight ones.  Wow… I like running with a God like that!

A plumb line’s effectiveness is seen when there are no protrusions interfering with the free hanging weight; this is the only way the line will reveal accurate, vertical straightness.  Do we seek ways to have God’s Word, free and uncluttered, serve as a plumb line to assess the straightness of our thoughts, ideals, convictions, and/or actions? I often think I’m operating with sound judgement in a given situation (because I believe it to make the most sense or it has the most personal appeal) only to have the Bible reveal I’m either tolerating or putting confidence in a leaning wall.

We may think, “I don’t have time to read the Bible today”. On such days, I managed to shower, do food prep, go to work, fuel the car, visit with a friend, and catch up on the news with no problem.  You and I can be busy with very good and necessary things, but are we willing to set our alarms a few minutes earlier or surrender watching something on TV to ensure we are reading God’s living, breathing word to us?  Without hindrances or protrusions?  And do we make windows in our schedules to pray when we’re quiet before Him, instead of just praying while we’re on the fly?

There is a point where the analogy of a plumb line differs dramatically from God’s Word, however, because physical plumb lines are inanimate objects.  They have no power to change a crooked or leaning wall into a straight one.  Neither can a plumb line take a person whose mind has become contaminated by self-serving ambition and make it holy.  But God’s Word is living, powerful, and sharp!  (Hebrews 4:12)

* * *

I humbly ask you to prayerfully assess your schedule and priorities and make whatever changes will be necessary to ensure (not allow – but ensure) you’re using the pure, unchanging truth of God’s Word to permeate your heart and mind on a daily basis.  It won’t be easy, and you’ll find yourself having to fight for it.  However, you don’t have to go it alone.  The God you are wondering about or seeking to know better will be there to help you. And His remedies to our failures, sins, and crookedness are always perfect; they’re plumb!

Perfectly so.



People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.


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