When a high school student tried using a thermometer to measure a table, his teacher was dumbfounded. In 15 years of teaching, Dave had seen many sad and shocking situations. But even he was amazed that a student could make it to high school without knowing the difference between a ruler and a thermometer.

When a friend told me this story, my heart broke for that student and others like him who have fallen so far behind in their education. They can’t move forward because they haven’t yet learned basic lessons of everyday life.

But then a sobering thought came to me: Don’t we sometimes do the same thing when we use wrong spiritual measuring devices? For example, do we assume that churches with the most resources are the most blessed by God? And do we ever think that popular preachers are more godly than those with few followers?

The proper measure of our spiritual condition is the quality of our lives, which is measured by such attributes as lowliness, gentleness, and longsuffering (Eph. 4:2). “Bearing with one another in love” (v.2) is a good indication that we are moving toward God’s goal for us: “the measure of . . . the fullness of Christ” (v.13).