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.