Christian Standards :: By John Lysaught

People live by all sorts of standards. There are standards of the world and Christian standards that people live by, exclusively or in a hybrid type of fashion in terms of morality. How Christians live and the precepts they live by are important for their relationship and walk with Christ.

The moral standards of the world are centered around the person or self. It is about self-gratification and personal gain. It is all about “me,” and too bad for the other guy. The standards are grounded in and around sinful living with the absence of God in any decision. These standards are normal to the worldly, and what they do not understand is these standards are self-destructive to the individual and will lead them away from the light of Christ.

Those living outside of the light of Christ may not understand their behavior is contrary to God. How would they, though? They do not know the love of Christ or how His standards will set them free from the shackles of the world. Yes, some do live the good moral lives that the world has, which may be like Christ’s standards. But without Christ as the foundation, it is all for nil.

As stated above, the world’s standards are centered around the individual. One of those standards is self-gratification, the satisfaction of some inward desire or the goal and the direction that the world points people to. Even doing good for others is not about others’ needs; it is about feeling good about self for doing good. It is not doing good for the sake of good but just to give bragging rights or to feel better about oneself. The standards are not of God.

The greatest standard the world pushes to us is finding happiness through the material world. Satan is in control of the world and has created a culture where stuff will make us happier, and the standard is to spend and spend to get and get. Satan has even created a culture of idols for us to follow to try to achieve the standards of society of materialism.

The society we live in points us to want to achieve what we cannot really get—the perfect body, the newest car, the bigger house, etc. The standard of the world is to ascertain these and more so we can find happiness. But is there really happiness in stuff? Is there satisfaction in worldly gain?

To say we have not fallen victim to this idea would make us liars. It is in our nature to covet what others have, and we fall prey to the want of materialism. We are bombarded with worldly things everywhere we turn. Advertisements are galore, telling us to want what others have. This is evident in the number of Christians getting into a lot of debt, seeking what they do not need, and having what others do.

Yet, what is found is that it is never enough. People get the next new thing, and then the next month want something else because others have it, or they just plain want it. This is from the newest clothing line, the next cell phone model, or the new car, to name a few.

A standard of society is to never be content with what we have but to want the next new thing. I cannot recall any advertisements telling us to be content with what we have and to not spend money on the next new gadget. Nope, it surrounds us on all sides, and everywhere we turn, it is in our faces.

The sad part is the standards of society will not bring us happiness. It may bring us some temporary satisfaction, but for the long term, the things we covet rust and decay. They get thrown in the trash or put in the garage to be forgotten about or sold in the next garage sale.

There is good news, though, and this is the good news of Jesus. The standards of the Christian life lead us to freedom. The chains of the world will be broken, and true satisfaction and joy can be attained aside from materialism. The burden of society is left in the dust, and the grip of materialism is cut off from our ankles to not restrain us in the world.

Following the world leads to eternal death. Following Jesus leads to eternal life. The burdens of the world mean nothing to the followers of Christ. Christians don’t look for the next new thing; they look up, up to the face of Jesus for the light of life. The commands of our Lord and Savior set us free from the bondage of the world and bring us life and happiness that those who do not know Christ cannot understand.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When we believe, and our lives are changed by Jesus, the old self is gone. No longer are we bound by Satan and the world, but we are set free by our faith in Jesus. We no longer must live under the umbrella of the world system of selfishness and worldly wants but are free to live under the grace and mercy of our Lord and the standards He sets forth for our lives until we meet Him in Heaven.

Matthew 6:24 tells us, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” As followers of Jesus, we still have a choice to make. We can choose whatever path we want, whether it be on the path of righteousness or the path of death. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot have one foot in the light and the other in the shadows. We either serve God, or we do not. There is no in-between.

When we choose to follow Jesus, our lives change for the better. Will it be easy? No, because we are still living in a world that wants to envelop us into their ways, and with that comes temptations, such as coveting. This does not mean we should give in to temptations, but they do not make life easy. With Jesus, though, letting go of our old worldly desires comes with our faith and hope in Him.

When we follow Jesus, we are hated by the world. They do not like what we stand for and how we live.

We are not prisoners of the world they live in but are future citizens of Heaven. The standards of God are what we follow now, not those of the world.

The standards of God are to love God (Matthew 22:37) and to love one another (John 13:34). When we love God, His commandments come easy for us. It is when we have not fully given ourselves to Him that we fail and fall into the world. When we love God, our thoughts and actions will no longer be of self but will be to please Him and to love others. When we love others, we cannot help but show the light of Jesus to them, and to love others frees us to be open to serving others as God wants us to.

When it comes down to it, yes, we are trapped in a world system where self-serving actions and desires rule. When we choose to follow Jesus, to become a follower of Him, our desires will shift from those of the world to those of God and a godly life. The question is, what will you choose?

John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”