Our friends next door are very athletic and one of the boys has been doing the high jump and doing very well at it. He is doing considerably well not because he is clearing the bar set at a very low level, rather he is doing very well because he is striving for and excelling at clearing a bar which has been set good and high.
Lately, I’ve been listening and hearing truth that challenges where ‘my’ bar may be set. It is easy, acceptable and maybe even expected or preferred that we all gravitate toward the status quo, the lowest common denominator… toward lukewarmness even. I’m not saying this is what we speak or preach to one another overtly, but maybe we do it covertly. There is a subtle appreciation we grant one another when we drop the level of the bar just a little so we can feel like we’re doing okay… we’re clearing the bar, we’re making the grade. But the question that needs to be asked and answered is “whose bar is it and who has set the level?”
There is a bar… there is a standard. It is a perfect, holy and just standard and it is set by our Creator and our Savior. Here is a snapshot of God’s standard,
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! (Psalm 119:1-3 ESV)
Here are some other snapshots…
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9 ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)
Does this look like the bar you are striving to clear? Does this standard seem impossible to you? If it is an impossible standard, then does it make sense that we should simply lower it to a more attainable level? Shouldn’t we set our expectations on something more realistic? Is this what we’ve done?
When I listen to a sermon, do I expect God to speak and instruct and sanctify me? Do I listen accordingly?
When I pray, do I have a confident expectation that God will answer in power and authority?
When I fish, do I believe that God will call His fish into the fishing nets… fish I don’t necessarily see?
When I run up to the bar on the high jump, do I put my confidence in my strength and abilities to clear ‘my’ bar or do I take set my gaze on God’s bar and confidently jump in the power and authority of Jesus Christ?
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 ESV)
It is so important that we remain aware, abiding in Christ, of what God has called us to in following Christ. It is just as important that we remain aware of who we are trusting in for the power to see the impossible accomplished.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 ESV)
There are many ways that God is speaking into my life these days and the following blog post is just one I will leave you with… it is brief and well worth considering.