“… go through the gates; prepare the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.” — Isaiah 62:10 (KJV)
The term standard can be defined as: (1) something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model or (2) a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment. (3) morals, ethics, habits, etc.
It seems that we belong to a generation that for the most part has adapted the motto: “If at first you don’t succeed then just lower the standard.” I believe this motto was developed from an attitude of, “Well at least I’m doing better than most folks.” If your goal in life is to do the least as possible to enable your survival then you are now in the majority. Welcome to the popular belief system that is forming our culture here in America! If the founding fathers of our Nation would have had this type of attitude then we would still belong to Great Britain. Following the path of the least resistance will always win the approval of your natural senses, which is very near to, “If it feels good, then do it.”
The only hope for this Nation to recover from this attitude is for a new standard to be raised by the Church within America. I firmly believe that this negative attitude first started within the Church, as more and more believers became comfortable with mediocrity, which resulted in very little personal transformation. It then became quite impossible to influence the world for Christ when we weren’t allowing Christ and His Word to influence us.
Christ never asked us to lower our standards in order to win the approval of the world. Actually, the church lowering its standards has brought reproach to the body of Christ and this Nation. This same attitude then allowed secular universities and Hollywood to take the lead in molding the culture of this Nation, which has produced more followers than leaders. Have you ever wondered where the amazing work ethic and the drive for greatness that our grandparents possessed vanished? They held themselves to a much higher standard, which was formed by a conviction derived from truths in The Bible. They could handle discipline and remain humble enough to accept the fact that they weren’t perfect. They were willing to receive correction, make the adjustment, and then proceed forward.
I am not promoting a set of rules only as a new standard, but I am promoting a person to follow, which is Jesus Christ. He said, “…if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to Myself.” The body of Christ isn’t called to point fingers at sinners but to point sinners to Christ! We are called to live and preach the Gospel in such a way that it will produce a conviction in the hearts of individuals that will cause them to want to be like Christ themselves. Then as they begin to follow Christ, He will draw them to a higher standard and empower them to accomplish great things for His glory.
What is your standard? What have you allowed Christ to change in your life as you follow Him? What goals have been established? Don’t be afraid to reach higher and dream bigger because God wants to use you to inspire others as you grow.
“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” — Phil 3:12-14 (NLT)
Bless you as you follow Christ.