Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Biblical Standards

There are rules designed by society that change with every generation, and there are those guidelines and boundaries in God’s word that have never changed.

As a Christian woman, I have personally felt the pressures of societal norms pushing up against my personal boundaries and convictions. Having sex on the first date has become an accepted occurrence. “Friends with benefits” is a common term and practice. Abstinence is obsolete. I find shopping difficult sometimes, as the clothes have become more revealing, shorter, tighter --- leaving less to the imagination. The pressure to conform is only reinforced in the movies I watch, on talk shows, reality TV, magazines, music and all other forms of pop culture.

And yet, knowing my roots, where I come from, what the Lord asks of me --- I try my best, as so many of my other sisters in Christ, to meander my way through in the most Christ-like fashion possible. Do I always get it right? Absolutely not; but pleasing my Lord is constantly on my mind and while I may fail, I also have found success in standing firm on God’s word by choosing to live differently than what may be expected of someone in her late twenties.

Does the Bible's standards still stand today?
Recently, a fellow sister in Christ and I were discussing these topics and she mentioned how let down she felt by another friend, who is also a believer. While discussing their teenage daughters, they were divided on how to go about teaching their daughters about sex. While one of them has taught their daughter to refrain from sex until marriage, the other has willingly put her child on birth control after finding out she was having sex. Her response to defend her choice was that in these days, no one is waiting to have sex to get married..."These are different times."

There are a plethora of cultural, traditional, "old fashioned" practices that are topics of discussion when it comes to what is right and wrong in today's world. Piercings, tattoos, promiscuity and even gossip ---though some topics have gray areas and interpretations --- have become a norm without and within the church. The accepted mindset has become: "If you're okay with it, then I respect your decision," or "That's your truth and it's okay if you want to do that." Our current-day school of thought is RELATIVISM.


 noun \ˈre-lə-ti-ˌvi-zəm\
: the belief that different things are true, right, etc., for different people or at different times
a :  a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing
b :  a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them

Unfortunately, relativism eliminates the notion of absolute truth. Truth, therefore, lies in the eyes of a person's perception, not in something that is concrete, like, for example, the Ten Commandments. They, unlike our current-day thinking, were black and white.

Stand on absolute truth
As believers, we should be weary of relativism creeping into our application of God's word in our lives. As Christians, we believe in absolute truths, namely, the Bible, God's word, as absolute truth. As much as the world and times may change, the Bible is clear that God does not change (Malachi 3:6) and that His word will always remain (Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33). Will we fall short and mess up? Absolutely! (Romans 3:23) However, our intentions are important to God and He knows our heart. To honestly mess up in a moment of weakness is completely different from discarding a Biblical teaching because "times have changed."

Check Yourself
Take a moment to examine yourself. Are there absolute truths and Biblical teachings that you purposely disregard because of your situation, lack of faith, lack of discipline, unbelief or unwillingness? Perhaps you have compromised because you are so far into whatever it is that you are doing, that it is easier to give in to it. It's not hurting anyone. Everyone else is doing it. Why is it a big deal?

The reality is, is that whenever we are compromising a Biblical truth, we are short-siding ourselves from receiving the blessings that come with obedience. There are countless verses that point toward God's faithful, who are rewarded richly. Compromise truly does hurt. It may not be immediate, but the seeds sown in compromise are the exact opposite of love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If these fruits are not growing on your life-tree, it may be due to your compromising heart. This is not to say that we do things God's way so He can bless us. This isn't witchcraft where instant gratification should be our motivation, however, honoring God by obeying His word shows that we love Him. The Bible says if we love God, we will do what He commands (John 14:15), and it just so happens that there are blessings attached to obedience.

It may be difficult, but it's not impossible
As difficult as it may be to follow God's commandments in such times, it is not impossible. Difficult is different from impossible. Difficult is actually good for us as hard situations force us to be more dependent on God. Whoever said, "God will not give you more than you can handle," lied. In this life, we will constantly face situations above and beyond our own means, which bring us to the feet of our Lord, asking him for help. If we could do it all on our own, if we could handle it, what would we ever need God for? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13. The key is "through Christ," because without Him, you may not be able to do much. Whatever it is you are compromising, know that it will be difficult to live by Biblical standards, but it is not impossible. All it takes is a willing heart and lots of accountability.


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