Who sets the standards?

What standards define a "normal life"?  Who says what "should" or "shouldn't be"?

Before you say "The Bible and God" (and I hope you do!), let me caution you to examine your belief for a moment.

Recently, someone very dear to me had a conversation with another 'mature' Christian about the difficulties they were experiencing in their life.  The response of the mature Christian was one of condemnation, shame, and ignorance - and that person thought they were communicating loving truth.  Here is what I want you to notice though; the other persons viewpoint was totally based on a culturally-biased secular psychology.  It told them that a good life would not suffer the pains that my friend did if they knew how to truly live...
...how to live like them!

Many people believe themselves to be acting "Godly", when, in fact, they need to hear the following:

Romans 12:3  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Luke 11:46  Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

The Bible calls such thinking self righteousness.  The danger of self-righteousness in human fellowship is that the relationship is not centered on Christ.  It is centered on the self-imposed standards (as opposed to biblical standards) that one believes to be paramount in life.  Furthermore, when self-righteous standards are the center of a human relationship, then relational and spiritual priorities reflect standards that have little to do with discipleship behavior, and more to do with human self-justification.  If a relationship is based on human standards (however noble they may seem) and self-righteous priorities, where is Christ?

If Christ is not there, then can the fellowship be good?

This is a hard question for many to own up to.  Our own expectations of relationships and longings for fellowship enslave many them to man-centered, destructive relationships.  These relationships cause needless pain, sorrow, grief, and destruction to the Image Bearing disciples that belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The very same Children of the one and only Maker and Savior of those beings.

My challenge to you tonight is to examine your relationships.  Do you need to compassionately confront someone in a God-honoring way about the nature of your relationship?  If it is a relationship that you trust will respond accordingly, then God be praised! - and bring it back under the Christ-involved fellowship He desires.  If it is not a relationship you believe can be changed through proper repentance and acknowledgement of such, then release it to God and glorify Him by acting as you should, but not expecting more than what it is.

If you look into your life and see that you may have been ignorant to your part in such a relationship, then for the sake of His name, and the blessings He intends, get it right.  Be humble, repent and get back to God's priorities, Christ's standards, and the sweet fellowship of true Christian faith.  I would love to hear your comments or further exhortations.  God Bless.

With you for His glory