When Brad was in high school his blue jeans size was 32 x 32 -- a 32-inch waist and a 32-inch inseam. Determined to keep his trim figure, he resolved never to let his waist size grow larger than his inseam.
However, during his college years Brad found his weight creeping upward until he couldn't avoid going to a 34-inch waist. To keep from breaking his resolution, he purchased size 34 x 34. The jeans simply bunched up a little more at his ankles, and he was able to convince himself that they really did fit just fine.
After Brad married, he continued to put on pounds until, finally, he had no choice but to purchase blue jeans with a 36-inch waist. When he tried on a pair of 36 x 36 jeans, even he had to admit that they looked ridiculous. He couldn't possibly wear jeans that long. Sadly, he realized he'd failed to keep his resolution. Once he had accepted that fact, he had no reason to continue the original pretense of a 34-inch inseam, so he purchased jeans that truly fit - 36 x 32.
Brad's story makes me laugh, but, at the same time, I can't help thinking how similar his responses were to those we sometimes make in the spiritual world. Most of us live our lives by one or more of the following "blue jeans principles":
- The 34 x 34 Rule - Rationalization: "If I don't measure up to God's expectations, change God's word to fit my life rather than change my life to fit God's word." (Read I John 1:8)
- The 36 x 32 Rule - Resignation: "If I don't measure up to God's expectations, maybe the whole effort isn't worthwhile, anyway." (Read Hebrews 10:36-39 and Hebrews 12:1-3)
- The 32 x 32 Rule - Repentence: "If I don't measure up to God's expectations, I need to 'resize' my thinking and 'shape up' my life." (Read James 5:16-20)