What Does the Bible Says About Living up To God's Standards?
When I was getting ready to write my first post for The Yay Project, God reminded me to be authentic. So far, being authentic has been fairly easy. Writing about faith is still new to me so sometimes my words feel clumsy but it’s been a period where my heart’s filled with a lot of gratitude; it has felt natural to want to praise God and share lessons learned. Today is a different sort of day, though. I climbed into bed at 8pm intending to write about my lifelong journey with the Holy Spirit. Instead I pouted, cried, doubted, claimed faith, grew frustrated, and then just turned out the lights. “Lord, forgive me,” I prayed. “Let me rest and please give me a better day tomorrow.”
But God wasn’t done with my day yet.
I lay in bed, twisted around to try and get comfortable, but just could not. Have you ever felt like something's stirring inside of you and just has to come out? Writing’s always helped me process the funkiness in my heart and God encouraged me to get back up and write. So here I am trying to work out what’s turned me from filled-with-hope happy to eat-an-entire-bag-of-chips frustrated.
My conclusion? It’s the tiny little things.
The tiny little things that we compromise on instead of living with excellence. It’s the sins that are still sins even though we try and reason that no one can see and that we’re not hurting anyone or at least no one but ourselves. When we buy something we know we shouldn’t. When we look at something we know we shouldn’t. When we say something we know we shouldn’t. Shouldn’t … but do … and then try to write it off and forget.
But God doesn’t forget.
Instead, through the Holy Spirit, He gently leads us to deal with our sin so we can eradicate it for good. In the past 24 hours, I’ve found myself dealing with some tiny little things and it is not sitting well.
Lately, God’s been reminding me to live an excellent life (Colossians 3:17).
Take this instance last week for example. I was at the grocery store and wanted to buy two bananas. While breaking two off a bunch, I accidentally twisted the top off one. I didn’t want to buy the broken banana so I put it back on the shelf, grabbed a new one, and headed towards the cashier … and then five seconds later returned to get the broken one. Mega guilt had taken over. I think the Holy Spirit really showed me that if I broke the banana, it was mine. When I paid, the total for three bananas was less than HKD$7 so am I ever glad that I didn’t disobey God for pennies! Anyway, do I want to be known for lax standards? Surely, not. Then living an excellent life requires excellence in all areas at all times.
Same goes for sin.
We are not to compromise on God’s standards.
As adults, we should have enough experience to be honest with ourselves about our personal triggers and put things in place to make sure we don’t slip. We need to be aware and realistic. After all, sin often starts with a thought and then leads to small actions before the main one is committed (Matthew 5:19). For me, inhaling and releasing an entire bag of chips (often Cheetos; tonight, Doritos) has been almost a lifelong (though not regular, I’d try and justify...) habit. The desire to do so comes up when I’m feeling stressed or out of control and it helps me feel in control for those ten minutes or so. But then the guilt comes and much as I try to push it away … I can’t. Or at least I can’t anymore. The weight and danger of unresolved sin is not something I want lingering in my life (1 John 2:4-5). Tonight it feels like my heart is physically hurting from disobeying and I can’t wait for this feeling to go away.
Lord, I ask that you forgive my sins and help me to turn from unhealthy habits for good. I pray Romans 12:2 over my life, that I have greater discernment of what is good, pleasing and perfect to you, and the strength to flick away unhealthy thoughts as soon as they come up. Help me to be a person that lives with excellence, who doesn’t compromise on the tiny little things, or the big things, but serves you with how I live my life. I am thankful for your mercy and that you love me even in my most wretched moments. Lord, I receive your forgiveness and believe you will lead me onwards.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15:19)
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: (1 John 2:4-5)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)