Measure Twice, Cut Once :: By Grant Phillips

Anyone who has worked in construction has faithfully practiced the old adage of “measure twice, cut once.” Not taking this advice is a recipe for disaster, eventually.

Several years ago I wanted to do some carpentry, so I gathered what I needed and got busy making a few basic odds and ends. At first I measured with the greatest diligence, but as I gained confidence in my work, I relaxed my diligent measuring. Once was all it took. “Rats! Too short! Got to start over.” From then on, I did not relax my measuring standards of “measure twice and cut once.”

The logic behind measuring twice and cutting once is to make sure I get it right, so the end result is what I want. For example, I need to cut a 24 ¼ inch board down to 20 inches long. Obviously, I need to cut off 4 ¼ inches, but did I measure 4 ¼ inches on the end or was it 4 ½ inches? Measure twice, cut once. Get it right the first time.

Those who are contractors, carpenters, cooks, seamstresses, etc. are good at what they do not just because they are talented, but also because they pay attention to their work. There is another saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

And then there are those who don’t care about the details and haphazardly proceed with a “lick and a promise.” Unfortunately, most people are just as reckless with their soul.

So what does “measure twice, cut once” have to do with spiritual matters? It is simply to say that I need to be sure of my relationship with Jesus Christ and not assume anything. I need to hold the measuring tape of God’s Word against my life.

Eventually, every single person who has ever lived will have to give an account to God for their life, their soul, the real person under that layer of skin and bones.

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12 emphasis mine)

Notice the emphasis in these two verses of “every knee,” “every tongue,” and “every one of us.” There will be no exceptions, but the majority of us will live our lives frivolously, never once considering that someday there will be a payday. I can, through my own negligence, cut a board the wrong length and be forced to start over. I have that option in carpentry, but there will be no second chance to start over once we are face to face with God, if we ‘measured’ incorrectly.

When you cut through all the religious jargon, there are only two groups of people in the world; those who belong to God and those who do not. Those who belong to Him will be welcomed with open arms. Those who do not belong to Him will be condemned.

Most people assume they have lived a good enough life to please God when their time comes to meet Him. Others don’t even believe He exists, but if He does, they will be alright, because, let’s face it, they’re no worse than anyone else and probably better than most. I seriously doubt if these same people have ever opened up a Bible and actually listened to what God has to say about it. No, they’ll listen to everyone else and form their own opinions, but listen to God!?

God says none of us are worthy to be in His presence. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

God says the best we have to offer Him is not worthy of Him. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

God says that our sins, no matter how good we think we are, will condemn us. “For the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23a)

God says He has provided one remedy that will remove all our sins and make us righteous, so we may be with Him forever. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

God says we cannot save ourselves. Only He can save us. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God has a lot to say. If you would like to hear more, read His Word. It’s called the Bible. By the way, He also says in His own way, “measure twice, and cut once.”

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

In other words, be sure of your salvation. Scratch all the opinions and double check with God. Be sure right now how we measure up with Him by reading what HE has to say. Obviously, we will never be right with God apart from Jesus Christ, but if Jesus is in us, we have nothing to fear because He clothes us in His righteousness and we will spend eternity with Him.

Grant Phillips


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