Saturday, March 15, 2014

Whose standard should I live by?

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I have never really in the past mentioned too may Pastor's names, and even in this one I wont mention the name of the pastor/speaker who teaches the "Live your best life now" philosophy because I think most people know who I'm referring to, and if you don't, you can always go ahead and Google the phrase. This post isn't about the person who teaches this philosophy, but the philosophy itself. Mostly, this post is about the standards the world has set in place for people to live by and the standards provided in scripture for us to live by.

The problem with the "Live your best life now" philosophy is that it really conditions a person to place their heart here on earth instead of above. We are told in scripture to store up our treasures in heaven, why? Because that's where our best life will be. So it's odd hearing a man who says he is a minister of God, someone preaching the gospel, say that our best lives are to be lived now, here on earth. If one is to live their (best) life now, best being defined as (to the highest degree, top, foremost, unsurpassed, ultimate, optimum, etc etc) all that obviously indicates a person can basically go no higher. So if in this current life we are to reach the peak of a persons entire existence, then what is to be expected in the life to come? That could only mean that after this life things will descend from being at it's best to being horrid, is that what anybody should really want? No.

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The entire teaching of living ones best life now is really teaching that there is no eternal life, there is no heaven or hell, there is only now, there is only today, so live it up. All of that is taught under the guise of 'living your best life now' and people don't see it. And that's where living according to the standard set by this world comes in. The world has established a definition of what living your best life is, and being wealthy is at the top of that list, also being popular, a socialite, being trendy, being knowledgeable in the wisdom of the world, having friends in high places, even in some cases being a shark, cutting down whomever to reach to the apex of "success". For many, trying to obtain these things cultivates a heart of covetousness, greed and envy, sadly even in Christians, and that should not be so.

We are taught not to set our minds on high things, but to associate with the humble, Romans 12:6. This isn't to say being rich is evil or even knowing rich people is evil, but this is to establish a heart that is trusting in the Lord and content entirely in the provisions the Lord supplies as He has promised, whilst remaining humble. We are taught in Luke 12:15, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” But according to the world's standard that is exactly what a man's life consists of. But in scripture we are taught that not only the love of money is the root of all evil, but desiring to be rich is also a no-no, 1 Timothy 6:8-12. But everywhere, even in the church today, many have a heart desirous to have all it's lust's fulfilled, why? Because of teachings like live your best life now.

One of the main problems is that the Church is conforming to the pattern of the world instead of Christ's pattern, and that's most definitely one of the major problems in the churches today. No longer are the standards set in scripture regarded any more really as being worthwhile striving for. Because the standards set in scripture is to give us eternal rewards to store up in heaven, and to make us a holy people, while God is providing for us the bare necessities we need here on earth. But people don't care about that, humans care about tangible things, cars, yachts, big houses, huge salaries etc etc, to impress other materialistic people.

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 No longer do people care to seek after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first any more. To the world a person is validated solely based on possessions, whether it be degrees or a persons income. If you don't have some type of degree, you're dropped at the bottom of the totem pole and considered to be a person who does not have a "bright future", because it is the world after all that determines what will occur in any individuals future, right? Nope. If you however have all the worldly credentials along with a few connections to get your foot in the door, because these days even the credentials aren't sufficient, then you are now on the path to "Success". People who have decided to take the Christian standard of living are usually people that many don't consider to be "Successful" or at least reaching their "full potential". Who determines ones full potential? To whom here on earth does a person have to give an account of their "full potential" when or if it is ever met? How is potential even measured, by what standard, God's or this world?

As Christians we aren't to live according to the dictates of the world which relentlessly through the media and whatever else, tries to beat into the poor it's definition of success and it's definition of a failure. The world sculpts this ridiculous spectrum and then tells us where we fit on it. The world is pretty much conditioning people to believe that if you haven't acquired a certain amount of degrees, and other material assets, then you're not successful. It boils down to this is I guess, who's definition of success are we trying to live up to, God's or the world's? As Christians this should be a no-brainer but it isn't for many of us, for me it certainly wasn't for a while.  But it is God's standard set in scripture worth labouring over not this worlds. And God's standard is sufficient, nobody needs to be burdened with extra laws about success created by man for us to live by, much of which is in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches. There are great expectations the world has placed on us & there are things God expects of us, which is worth labouring over truly? It is the one that provides the eternal rewards.


Brenda said...

Hi Sateigdra,
beautifully written, and I know it was written from the heart.
When I read this from your comment 'If you however have all the worldly credentials along with a few connections to get your foot in the door...' I thought to myself 'The only door worth walking through is the one I walked through thirty years ago.' As for being rich, the true silver and gold are wisdom and knowledge in the Lord, and all the money and 'must haves' in this world will never compare to what 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'
God bless you Sateigdra.

Frank Blasi said...

Dear Sateigdra,
Yes, I say amen to your post.
Here in the UK, education levels and social class makes a big impact on the individual. I was a disaster at school back in the 1960s and my job has been a labourer ever since, with the majority of the population better off than myself.
But what does it matter? One day I will die, and there will be nothing to take to the grave.
So as long as I have God in my life, and to live for him, I'll be okay for all eternity.
God bless.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Thanks guys for your replies. This post came about after a conversation I had with a friend of mine on facebook. He asked what I consider to be a very important question, and here is that question. " Is it biblical to ask more of men than God Himself asks of them? Does God give men a physical standard with a numerical value, or does God set a spiritual standard with eternal value - His Son, Jesus Christ? 

Obviously we want the best for others and our family, but what does "best" mean? That can be a very subjective and arbitrary term if we do not firmly establish that standard on the foundation of Scripture. Are we secretly pushing the Joel Osteen philosophy on those closest to us? Are we overly burdening them to have their "Best Life Now?"
It's really something to think about.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

This scripture I should have included in this post. " Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Nothing in this world will give us rest, no ammount of worldly success can give true rest. True test comes from the Lord.



Susan said...

Thank you Sateigdra, beautifully written, well thought through. I've been listening to Voddie Baucham lately and he says many of the things you talk about in this post to his university audiences (much needed message there). What does it profit us if we gain the whole world and yet lose our soul? Many would rather grab what they want now and not think about if there are consequences awaiting them... easier for some I guess, however that broad and easy way is warned about by Jesus. The narrow path says believing Jesus will be hard and will not win you popularity contests and is fraught with spiritual warfare... and many follow for a while and when they realize the true cost required from themselves, that there is rejection and hardship involved, they like the followers of Jesus in John ch 6 stop following, and do not enter in to His rest, because rest in Jesus is not the kind of rest they want. Resting in Jesus and what He has done is not the same as becoming a couch potato. It requires admitting guilt, struggling with sin, fighting with demons in high places. Being on the wide road is easy and makes you popular, and the demons let you alone, so you can just "believe" they don't exist or whatever suits their fancy... they can do whatever they want and live in the "here and now" as you say, and feel that if there is a God, surely He will grade on a curve, and surely they pass that bar they imagine to be "good enough"...but sadly, the only way to God is through Christ, and admitting we are all sinners deserving of hell, and that Jesus paid the price not any of the rest of us could pay.

Keep telling the truth even when it loses you "friends" <3 (like it has me)

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Thanks for your wonderful comment Susan. I agree with the points you made. I'll have to check out Voddie Bauchman, I'm not certain if I've heard of him before but I'll probably be checking him out. Thanks for dropping by with words of wisdom. And I will keep telling the truth.

Sometimes I can feel people talking about me behind my back but it doesn't bother me. Nobody has said anything to my face as yet, but when they do I won't allow it to frighten me out of boldly proclaiming the truth supplied to me by God's Holy Spirit.

T-Childs said...

Wonderful! Exactly what I needed to hear, and so brilliant, eloquently written with clarity and intelligence. Being content with what we have is a gift from God. Those who preach another gospel, even in churches, are worshipping their own greed.