The question is an important one to ask yourself. No, I did not tell you to ask someone else their standard, the answer to the question is one that you need to determine in your own life in accordance with the Word of God. As you look at your own “inside” and “outside,” who is it that sets your individual standard? People love to declare their individuality without realizing that in their pursuit of being “original” they are actually conforming to a standard. Unfortunately, it is often not one a Christian should have. A standard is a limit or self-imposed rule in our life that we set. It is not necessarily verbalized or written down – but each of us have standards for how far we will go in a situation, or “where we draw the line.”
When we take a careful look at our lives we will likely decide (if we are honest) that it is the world that sets most of our standards. It holds great sway and influence over how we live our lives and contributes greatly to the standard of morality and rules we live up to.
Yet, as a Christian, we know that standards ought to be derived from God’s Word. We learn principles from the teachings of the Bible; as a result we develop convictions (deeply rooted beliefs), and therefore set standards to live by (in order to keep the principles we have learned). With this wisdom we’ve learned, how can we any longer allow the world to set our standards? The Bible makes this subject clear to us in:
1 John 2:15-17 15 Love not the world, neither the things that arein the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that isin the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Charles Spurgeon spells it out for us 140 years ago: “Avoid the appearance of evil. ‘But we must not be too rigid,’ says one. There is no fear of that in these days. You will never go too far in holiness, nor become too like your Lord Jesus. If anybody accuses you of being too strict and precise, do not grieve, but try to deserve the charge.
I cannot suppose that at the last great day, our Lord Jesus Christ will say to everyone, ‘You were not worldly enough. You were too jealous over your conduct, and did not sufficiently conform to the world.’ No, my brethren, such a wrong is impossible. He who said, ‘Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect,’ has set before you a standard beyond which you can never go.
’Well, but,’ says one, ‘are we to have no enjoyments?’ My dear friend, the enjoyments which are prepared for Christians are many and great, but they never include sin and folly. Do you call vice and folly enjoyments?”[i]
I do not want the world to dictate where my standards for living lie. I want God’s Word and the influence of godly believers to be the influence upon my life, not the world. WHO IS IT THEN THAT IS SETTING YOUR STANDARD? IS IT THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE AND GODLY CHRISTIANS OR IS IT THE WORLD ITS UNGODLY INFLUENCES? Only you can decide.
– Pastor Mark A. Sage
[i]The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 84