I have never enjoyed correction. Most people don’t appreciate the correction, but correction is often essential. The idea of the plumb struck me deeply from the reading of Amos 7:7-15. For those that may not be familiar a plumb line is utilized in building to make sure that things are straight. Gravity is used to make the line. God uses this image in his prophecy given to Amos as a call to call the people of Israel back. The threat to the life of the king didn’t even give pause to the people of Israel to change. Instead, they wanted Amos to go away. How often do we run into that in our own lives? Instead of listening to the spirit of God or when we feel the pinch of our failure we react negatively and shut down instead of seeking the light of Christ. We like to feel like we are good and right.
Once we realize the grace that has been poured upon us through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are a new creation through his glorious power. Paul speaks of the blessings in Ephesians 1:3-14. The adoption given to us as sons and daughters in Christ is such a glorious blessing. Just like a child adopted into a new family we are adopted as children of God and given a new name. The power of this should be most transformative for us all. The things of this world have no ultimate authority, they are but temporary. God’s love is the one permanent thing we can honestly count on. It is this to which we are called to cling. The reality of our life in Christ is that we are not called to define ourselves in the ways and things of this world, but are called to be established and refined in the Word of God.
Mark 6:14-29 brings this home as we look to Herod, who is a tragic figure in all reality. He is uncertain of his standing and is perplexed when confronted with John the Baptist, but being a man of the Jewish faith he has an awareness of the holiness of God though is not transformed by it. His ears were drawn to hear the preaching of John, yet he did not desire for a change. He was challenged yet unwilling to meet the challenge or find transformation. So often we find ourselves clinging to things that are of this world. I know this and God has continually worked to change me in my own life. The work he has done on me has not always come quickly and has not been by my own choosing. The changing in my own spirit has come through urgings and deep convictions that have been set deep down inside of me through the power of the Holy Spirit. This work does not stop nor is it ever a one-time thing, but a continual process which shapes and transforms me. The same is true for all Christians, and each has a different journey as we all struggle with the old as new rises up in us. Christ is transforming power. Christ is a renewing force. Pride can cause us to do such unimaginable things as we try to cling to that old Adam. That desire to be righteous on our own is the seed that draws us down this path, the willingness to say that we have free will in which we can determine to know God and can define ourselves as good continually draws us away from the truth that is in Christ. Christ is for those that see themselves as holy very perplexing, the Word of God is allegorized and made into a book of stories that are meant to develop a sacred, moral understanding. The reality is that Christ and his love for us are abounding and when we cling to him above all else, then and only then can we know true blessing. He is our plumb line, and in him, we are made plumb. It is not by our own effort or doing, but in our clinging to him. Only he can make us right and true. Only he can bring us to salvation. That is the power of the adoption that we receive through him. We are redeemed in Christ’s love and through his love alone. The peace of Christ gives us new life, and in that life, we are given hope. That hope carries us through the struggles and strife that we know in this world. It is through these things alone we can withstand it all as we cling to Christ as our plumb.