The Fool Is His Own Standard

People naturally tend to compare others with a standard based upon their own stature; it is part of our broken human nature. This pattern is true for the majority of people, including your’s truly! We all have to be conscious and deliberate to not measure others by our own stature. It’s a foolish person who utilizes their own stature as a standard for them self and for others.

We notice differences right away: their gender, their race, their social standing as portrayed by the fashion of their clothing, and other visibly obvious things. Then, as we get to know them we compare their sanctification, their intelligence IQ, their emotional IQ, their taste in food and music, their gifts and talents, their notion of fashion and style, their skills, their motivations in life, etc. with a standard: us.

The scripture teaches us to avoid using ourselves (or others within our own circle of like-minded people) as standards by which we compare ourselves or other people. The Apostle Paul knew this principle well and referred to it in one of his letters:

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

‭‭~ 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬

When we compare others we tend to then judge them. Judging them is not just the act of discerning what they might be doing that is wrong (lovingly discerning each other within the church is encouraged by scripture), it is instead where we compartmentalize them and write them off; we look down on them based upon a standard that is not of Christ.

We are also warned about judging others (writing them off) for the very same things that we do. I don’t know about you, but when I notice myself doing that [much too often, I must say] I literally get sick to my stomach because of my own hypocrisy.

However, if we are blind to our own hypocrisy then we can feel elevated and more righteous. We can limit our social circle to include only those who do not measure up to our own current level of sanctification. By comparing them and thinking of them as being “worse” than us, we are comforted by how good we are in comparison. Again, we are not to be our own standard, Christ is. It’s a dangerous temptation to turn a blind eye on our own condition which is falling short of the glory of God.

Jesus Christ is to be our standard in all things, and we are to compare ourselves to Him alone. The next time we notice someone else’s lackluster performance in skills, intelligence, fashion sense, sin and morality, food preference, creativity, etc. let’s remind ourselves how short we ourselves fall of the perfect standard of Christ, and how gracious and patient and encouraging He is to lead us into the genuine changes of our heart and mind.

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#PastorsTip #2Corinthians10 #Standards #Classify #Compare #Foolish

Imperfections, Faults, & All

Marriage, a vow of commitment declared in love, is the merging of two lives that are inherently imperfect and whose righteousness will fluctuate over time. The husband and the wife each have their own list of flaws and faults, flaws being non-sin related imperfections and faults being sin related imperfections. Obviously, we do not feel affectionate at the moment when our spouse has a flaw or fault glaring in our face, but we are still committed to them as a spouse and as a best friend.

Perhaps they have a Personality Disorder (PD) which is defined as: “a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior of a specified kind, typically manifest by the time one reaches adolescence and causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or in functioning in society.”

Or, perhaps they have an addiction to a certain kind of sin where they can’t seem to control their own impulses when a temptation arises. Addiction can be defined as: “a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.”

Whether their imperfections are the result of their upbringing, childhood or adulthood experiences, inherent physiological instabilities, or a heart that is still not fully surrendered to Christ, our continuous unconditional love for them is powerful enough to counter the pain and damage that their flaws and faults may bring to the marriage.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

~ 1 Peter 4:8

Love is not easy because love is unconditional. The scripture speaks of Jesus’ own unconditional love for us in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In marriage, our love-commitment may require us to “die” every day, to sacrifice our own life’s rights, comforts, and pleasures in order to ensure the marriage relationship endures and is healthy in spite of our spouse’s daily imperfections (their flaws or faults).

Naturally, the spouse in our marriage relationship that needs the most grace is not our spouse, but us! The person that we look at in the mirror is in need of the most frequent and the largest sacrifice of unconditional love.

Let’s remember how much Jesus suffered for us, even while we were “perfectly imperfect” and still sinning! Let’s remember how much our own spouse suffers for us, even while we are being imperfect in any sense of the word.

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#PastorsTip #1Peter4 #UnconditionalLove #PersonalityDisorder #ImpulseControl #Flaw #Fault #Heart #Love #Commitment

Fabrications, Figures, And Furs

Let’s face it, in today’s society almost anybody can have their face refabricated with plastic surgery and enough makeup; their figure can be reformed to fit selected measurements; they can be clothed in the latest fashions; and they can be adorned with the softest of [fake, not real] furs. The only limit to recreating the outward beauty is the imagination.

Every gentlemen wants to marry a beautiful lady, but it should be first and foremost a beauty that radiates from a God-loving heart. Don’t get me wrong, beauty in youth is wonderful, and God’s original design for ladies was a natural, beautiful body.

Beauty though, as the saying goes, is only skin deep. Relationships are not (and should not be) just a physique-based attraction between the body-handsome and the body-beautiful. Instead they are to be a heart-based attraction with a soul-to-soul connection.

David married King Saul’s youngest daughter, Michal as a prize for killing Goliath. As a princess, she no doubt had access to every “modern” beauty aide of that day, and she likely made good use of them. From attendants gifted in designing fashion, applying makeup, and creating [real, not fake] furs, she received the best of the best. From a purely physical point of view, David was a very blessed man to marry such a beautiful princess of prominence and prestige.

But, the joy her fabricated beauty brought to him could not counter balance the sadness and pain that came into his God-loving heart from her self-centered, ugly heart.

“As the ark of the Lord was entering the City… Michal (David’s wife)… watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.”

~ 2 Samuel 6:16

The beauty of a wife that is enjoyed by a husband for a lifetime is a beauty that continuously radiates from a God-loving heart. If you are considering a marriage proposal, pray and ask God to show you the beauty of your potential future mate’s heart. Measure their beauty using God’s standards, and not by mankind’s standards. He will guide your path to the right lady, one of His own princesses.

One thing I have noticed in scripture, godly men who were led by God in the selection of their wife almost always had a wife that is described as having both kinds of beauty, physique-beauty and heart-beauty. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “worldclass” physique-beauty, as long as the heart-beauty is absolutely “heavenclass!”

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#PastorsTip #2Samuel6 #David #Michal #Beauty #PlasticSurgery #MakeUp #Fur #Physique #Heart #GodLoving

Sibling Rivalry

Jesus, being conceived in a virgin named Mary by God’s creative power (the same power that created the universe!), had Mary as His birth-mother and Joseph as His step-father. We know from scripture’s record that Jesus, being the first-born into Joseph’s household, had at least 4 half-bothers and 2 or more half-sisters whose birth-parents were Joseph and Mary.

Imagine the Sibling Rivalry there must have been among Jesus’ siblings. Can you imagine being a brother and how unfair it would seem to always have your parents take that one brother’s side in a sibling disagreement? Can you imagine when there was children-chaos in the house and all the kids were grounded… except for that one brother? Talk about feeling like there was favoritism on your parents’ part!

Being Joseph and Mary, parents of the divine Christ Child and of 6 or more un-divine children could not have been easy. Imagine them trying to not show favoritism to any one of their children, but one of them is perfectly sinless. When He was told to take the trash out to the curb (so to speak) He always did it, and on time!

When the other kids would try to bait Him into being sneaky and cheeky, He always declined, leaving the siblings in a state of frustration. Perhaps at one point, within the context of a private family meeting, the parents sat down with all the kids and shared about Jesus’s birth announcement by an Angel, and Who He really was.

Even when Jesus was in His public ministry, His brothers (and maybe even His sisters) still did not believe in who He was:

“For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

‭‭~ John‬ ‭7:5‬

It appears that His siblings eventually came into the faith after His crucifixion and resurrection. They were significant participants in the early church.

Do you have a sibling who has grown up to be a very effective Man of God or Woman of God? Obviously they are not Jesus, but they are a representative of Christ. As mature adults both in body and in the faith, let us leave our sibling rivalry behind and acknowledge what God is doing in them, through them, and around them.

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#PastorsTip #John7 #SiblingRivalry #Bothers #Sisters #Rivals #Jesus #VirginBirth #Mary #Joseph

The Archives of Heaven

Each person who has ever lived has every one of their sins, their sins of commission and sins of omission, recorded in a set of books. Every single sin is recorded with absolute accuracy, and without partiality; there is no embellishing nor is there any diminishing. Each person will be judged and sentenced to punishment on the basis of their exact record.

Well, not everyone. There is a single book that has a list of names in it, it’s called the Book of Life. This list is comprised of names only, no other entries of deeds done. This one book only contains the list of names of people who are to be pardoned by the Judge. Their pardon has not been earned by having a smaller number of sin-entries in the other large set of books, nor because of recordings of good deeds in some other archives.

“And I saw the dead… standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books… each person was judged according to what they had done… Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

~ Revelation 20:12-15

The pardon for sin will be received only by those who (while alive) had asked Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sin, and had lived the rest of their life engaged with Him and trusted Him with their eternity.

Your sins are being recorded, but is your name recorded in the list for pardons, is it recorded in the Book of Life?

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#PastorsTip #Revelation20 #BookOfLife #BooksOfSins #Pardon #Forgiven #Saved