I believe in standards! We have standards in our home and in our lives. The church we attend has them. We have standards for our staff. Most schools have some sort of standards, as does the military and the movie theater. Chick-fil-A and McDonalds do too. Think with me for a few moments about standards. I divide standards into three categories and as a result it has helped me and my family to think wisely about them. Here they are:
- Some standards are just straight-up Biblical ones.
As we study the Bible and grow in our spiritual walk, we discover that the Bible is filled with commands and principles. These commands and principles are to be applied under the loving leadership of the Holy Spirit. We call these applications our Biblical Standards. The Bible, for instance, teaches a principle called modesty. Because it does, our family and ministry continually prays for the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and direction as to how we are to apply this to our lives. “We are not bound by the law,” Paul told the church at Galatia, “but we are to be led of the Spirit” (Galatians 5) so that we neither become legalistic (and think that we are righteous by what we do and don’t do) nor licentious (and live carnal and worldly lives that are displeasing to God and damaging to the Gospel). Every believe should continually be growing in Christ and applying the Bible to their lives. We should learn God’s Word. We should look to God’s Word to instruct us and lead us. We should allow the Holy Spirit to take the Word we are learning and show us how to apply it to our lives. The result will be standards that are Biblical ones. These standards can be explained by starting with the statement “the Bible says!” Because the Bible says that we are to be pure, for instance, we are not going to allow entertainment that glorifies adultery and other perversions. Because the Bible says that we are not to take God’s name in vain, we are not going to allow entertainment that includes such language. This is what I mean by my Biblical Standards.
- Some standards are personal ones.
Personal standards are just that. They are personal. They are unique to me and to my family. They may have nothing to do with the Bible’s commands, but can be based on my preferences alone. They may meet a need in my life that may not need to be met in someone else’s. Because they are personal, I don’t judge others for having a different standard than mine, nor do I condemn them. Shouldn’t each of us have personal standards to help us keep our lives clean, overcome problematic issues in our culture, and protect us from negative influences? These are just tools to help us live our lives in “all godliness and honesty” (I Tim 2:2).
- Some standards are institutional ones.
Institutions, like Bible colleges, the military, and restaurants, have rules. Many, for instance, have rules about facial hair. Some permit men to have beards. Some command men to be clean-shaven. Did you know that it is entirely acceptable and fine for these institutions to have these standards? It isn’t a matter of obedience to a Bible command, but a matter of obeying the authorities in our lives, which, interestingly enough, is a Bible command. These are institutional matters. We should not attempt to defend every institutional rules as Biblical (although they may be the same as ones taught in the Bible) and neither should we attempt to teach them as some unique standard of righteousness. Institutional rules are very important and are a necessary part of life. So think right about them and embrace them and serve God with gladness (Psalm 100:2).
Does that make sense? How do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,