What Scale Are You Using?

Every day, you use a scale.

No, not two metal bowls that you put items in, but rather a scale in your heart.

It’s the scale that determines whether you are happy or sad, content or frustrated.

It’s the scale of what matters to you.

Think about it: How are you feeling, right now? Are you happy? Are you sad? What emotion do you have?

Ok, now consider this: why are you feeling this way? If you’re happy, why are you happy now, and not sad? Why are you frustrated, and not content?

It’s because that you’ve weighed your life in your scale of what matters, looked at the result, and said to yourself, “Ah, life is good, I am happy” or “Crap, life stinks, I feel bad.”

What’s Your Scale?

So the real question is: What scale are you using? How are you determining whether life is good or life is bad?

This is a vitally important question. The scale you are using will determine the life that you live, but often we live on “automatic pilot”— we don’t consciously think about what scale we are using in the back of our minds, and so we careen from one emotion to the next without realizing what is causing us to feel happy or sad.

To make things even more complicated, we usually are switching back and forth between multiple scales. We might start the day using the scale of success, how we are doing in our job or if we feel fulfilled in it. We might look in the mirror & use the scale of our physical body, how fit or healthy or attractive we are. We think about our last conversation and use our scale of relationships, how well we are liked or whether the people in our lives are meeting our needs. We see a sporty car at a stop light & start using the scale of money and material possessions. On & on it goes: we have so many different scales of what can make us happy to choose from.

But there’s actually the key: we have the ability to choose the scale. We aren’t locked in to using the scale we use now, or the scale that our parents or friends or the rest of society use. We have the freedom to choose which scale we use each day. Which brings us to the obvious question: What scale should we choose? What scale will bring us the greatest lasting joy?

A Scale Without Fail

Let’s look at the example of one person who was filled with joy & contentment no matter kind of day he was having: Saint Paul. Some of his most famous words are in his letter to the Philippians:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11-12)

This letter is sometimes referred to as Paul’s “joy” letter, because there are a dozen references to joy and rejoicing in the letter, even though it was written while he was in a Roman prison.

So what was Paul’s secret to maintaining joy and contentment no matter what his circumstances? Obviously he wasn’t using the scale of success or material possessions. He couldn’t have even been using a scale of being free or having a full stomach.

To discover Paul’s scale of what mattered to him we just need to turn a few pages back to Chapter 3:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…

Paul had only one scale: his union with Christ. That’s all that he needed, and he consciously chose to abandon every other scale he had (“whatever gain I had, I counted as loss”). He had a position of great social, academic, and political power, leading a lifestyle of privilege, and he gave it all up to “know Christ and the power of His resurrection.” (verse 10)

Why Christ?

Why did he do that? Why did he bank all of his happiness on the one scale of union with Christ? The simple explanation is that CHRIST WAS WORTH IT. Life with Christ far outweighed any other possible joy in Paul’s life. He was an example of the parable which Jesus taught in Matthew 13:44-6–

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Jesus said union with Him, life in the kingdom of heaven, is so precious that the person who realizes its worth will in joy be willing to give up everything else in his life to have it.

One Final Question

Which leaves us with one final question: Do you put Christ in your scale? Is He your hidden treasure? Is He your pearl of great price, which you would gladly sell all your possessions to have?

If He is, then you have a foundation of joy that can never be shaken, for your union with Christ can never be broken. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-39–

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we are always focusing the scale of our heart on Christ, we can always feel content and joyful regardless of other circumstances. May we pray daily for God to turn our hearts to be wholly focused on Him.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>