If you are of a certain age, you might remember the occasional interruption we used to have when watching television. Unexpectedly, the show would stop, the screen would go blank, and then you would see and hear these words, “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. If this […]
Many years ago, I was in an argument with a family member. I was being criticized, and I felt very defensive. At one point during the argument, I blurted out, “It doesn’t matter what you think of me. I am good with God.” I had no idea where that thought came from. I’d never had that thought before. But it was a life changing moment for me. It was at that moment that I realized that I am not here to please other people. My sole purpose is to please God.
Once you commit yourself to God’s standards, life becomes a lot simpler … and a lot harder. I can’t sugarcoat that. God’s standards are not man’s standards. Human standards are ever changing. God’s standards for us are fixed.
Human standards allow us to justify our behavior. “Well, he insulted me, so that gave me the right to be cruel.” Or, “I’m allowed to be irritable with others because I had a bad day.” The justifications humans create for their behaviors are endless.
God’s standards don’t change based on how I happen to be feeling. If I try to justify my poor behavior to God, He gives me a quick answer in the pit of my stomach. That answer is, “So what?” “So what if you had a bad day?” “So what if someone spoke unkindly to you? That doesn’t merit your unkind response.” Why? Because God asks us to turn the other cheek. God asks us to have faith that no matter what the day brings, He will take care of us. He assures us that if we follow Him, He will vindicate us. He will fight our battles. We don’t have to correct other people’s behavior. He will do it for us. We simply need to walk on His path.
Knowing that our only job is to meet God’s standards is liberating. That is because other people can’t control us with their opinions. For example, if someone criticizes me, initially I might be defensive. But then my reaction is replaced by a more meaningful assessment of my behavior. That assessment begins with the question, “Am I good with God?”
Unfortunately, the answer may be that my behavior has not met God’s standards. I’ve may have been judgmental where I should have been compassionate. Perhaps I’ve been frustrated when I should have been patient. Or I’ve said unkind words when I should have been generous with a compliment. I may have gossiped when I should have kept my mouth shut. God’s standards are clear and unwavering.
Being good with God is really about trying to meet a different standard from the world. We are humans, so we will not be perfect when it comes to meeting that standard. However, God only asks that we keep trying.
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