God's Line of Measurement
by Shane Williams
via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 10, No. 6, Oct. 2009.
It is true that you cannot define a word by using the same word to describe it. It just doesn't work. You can't explain a term by comparing it with itself. It would do little good to describe "repentance" as what happens when one repents.
You also cannot describe a word by making up your own definition. Oh, it's fun sometimes to try and come up with a funny definition for an unknown word. However, when you want to know the definition of a word, you find a good dictionary.
All of this is likewise true in evaluating one's character. In II Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul showed the foolishness of trying to judge our own character by our own opinions. "... but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. ... For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends" (II Corinthians 10:12,18). We would be wrong to evaluate ourselves by devising our own standard and guidelines. We must use God's line of measurement. He evaluates our lives by the standard of His unchanging Word. What we are is what the Lord says we are. One cannot change that by using an inferior standard.
As we take inventory of our lives and what we have done in the Lord's service, let's not be too quick to commend ourselves. The real test is whether we are of those "whom the Lord commends" (II Corinthians 10:18).