December 8, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: Standards

I have a transparent sign (Kinda like a Fathead Poster) on the wall in my office that says, “Win the lost.  Disciple the Found. Mend the Broken.”

I have it there to remind me what my purpose is in life. I believe this short, succinct statement is the purpose of all Christians and all churches.

My personal mission statement further defines my purpose.

It states, “God has placed me here to passionately and consistently reflect the character of Christ through every role and season of my life.”

I realize that as I take this journey called life, my roles will vary, the seasons will change, but my calling from God will remain the same. Now, do I always achieve what I have outlined above? Of course not! However, they are the goals to which I aspire. They encourage me to be better than I am. They remind me that there is a standard for my life!

One of the first fundamentals of our faith is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that changes us for the better.  Yes, He accepts us as we are. In fact, that’s the only way any of us can come into a relationship with Him – just as we are. However, the truth of the matter is that although He accepts us as we are, He loves us way too much to allow us to stay that way.  He changes us for the better!

One of the ways Jesus affects the change He desires in us, is through the rules and regulations He places upon us.  Now, I’m not a legalist. Keeping rules and regulations does not bring us into a relationship with Jesus Christ, nor does it keep us there. When we accept Him as our Savior, we become His children – period.

However, for us to become the Spiritually mature person He desires, means there are certain rules and regulations we must adhere to. There are standards we must meet! Herein is my subject for the column today – the lack of standards associated with Christianity.

In my opinion, in its quest to become relevant, I’m afraid the church has abandoned the one thing that makes it relevant and distinct – Biblical standards. No longer do we demand that our members possess and display a standard that is higher than the fallen world in which they live. We have “dumbed down” the expectations and Biblical requirements of what it means to be a Christian.

In fact, it is easier to join a local church than the Moose or Kiwanis clubs. They do a better job of making sure a person meets their membership qualifications. One of the first steps to seeing churches and individual Christians return to the fundamentals of our faith is to raise the bar of expectations back to its Biblical position. I believe that when people look at “a church” they want it to see “a church!” They aren’t looking for a BFF. They are looking for a body that models Biblical standards!

What I’m saying is reflected in children’s sports. Today, regardless of talent and ability, every child who wants to play makes the team gets to play in the game. And many times, they don’t even keep score at the games! Why, in might warp little Johnny or Susie’s minds is somebody told them they don’t meet the qualifications or possess the skill set necessary to excel at a particular sport.

Gone forever are the days in which I was raised – a time that if you didn’t meet the standards you didn’t make the team. And hey, if you really wanted to play, you went home and worked on improving yourself and your ability. You didn’t expect the team to dumb down their standards to your level. You improved your level! What a novel concept!

As I become a better me, and you become a better you, the whole team becomes better! That’s the importance of setting and enforcing standards!

Brother Aaron

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