Week four is an exciting week for us as we both get to share in a way that is enjoyable. We hope that it is fun for you as well as helpful. Each fourth week, we will pick a topic that we both will address. You will be able to see both the male side and the female side of the issue. And although these differences will speak to both men and women, our goal isn’t to point out the difference between men and women. Our goal, just like our other posts, is to provide you with tools in order to be strengthened through purity. So we hope you gain a lot out of seeing our different sides of a topic aimed at the same goal.
It is also different for us because we are using something called, “Sprint Writing.” We set a timer for 30 mins, select the topic and write, non-stop until the time ends. Then it is just a matter of polishing it up, adding references or definitions that we later would look up and posting it for you. It is a great way to see how the Spirit directs us.
We would love to have your feedback in what you read. Seeing the differences in our views towards the same goal, how you connected to one or the other, or just something else that spoke to you. Feel free to comment, share and interact with us. It will help us all become stronger through purity.
And now… we present, “He Said/She Said”! This months topic is, “The Standard.”
First thought is a newspaper. The Standard. It brings news and information that should be unbiased and true. It proclaims what is going on and sheds light on things that you don’t know has been happening. Or it might explain something that you kinda sorta know about but not much.
Although there can be different standards to address the same thing, there truly is only one Standard. You can measure distance in miles or kilometers. One isn’t right and the other wrong, just different. Here in America, it makes more sense to measure in miles because that is what everything is standardized too. In England, the kilometer is the standard so measuring by miles wouldn’t make sense. So the standard you use is the one that makes most sense in the situation.
But what about life? Again there are many standards. Arriving at 10:00 sharp in a business setting may be considered late, where as arriving at 1:00 for a 10:00 island wedding is early. There are two different standards at play here.
In today’s world, the standard changes with geographic location, peers, setting and a variety of other factors. And that is fine, when it comes to those specific settings.
But life itself should only have one standard. What is that standard? How do we reach it? Why is it so important to set it as our goal? Is it attainable or something that will always be out of our reach?
There is only one standard that we all have been asked, and then called, to follow. It has been around since the beginning of time and it will last until the end of time. So lets answer the above questions in reverse order.
First, is it attainable or will it be something that is always out of reach? Is this standard to lofty for some or most? Will only the go getters be able to get it? This standard is one that has been set for us based on who we are made to be. It is made for you and me. It is something that isn’t out of reach at all, in fact, it is right there waiting for you to grab it and hold on to it for life. Literally. Some may see others reaching the standard and believe that they will never be able to make it. They may think that things they have done in the past or how they were raised or what they didn’t get earlier in life will stop them from even getting close to the standard. These are all lies. Lies from someone who creates a lot of different standards in order to confuse and distract those who are going for the standard.
Second, why is it so important to set this standard as a goal? Since there are so many standards out there, why is this the one to shoot for? Remember the liar from last paragraph? It is this liar that has put out these other standards. Do you want to attempt to reach a standard set by a liar? But focusing on this one standard brings with it so many rewards. Mainly it is the only way to gain life. It is the only way to get something that you can’t by yourself. It is the one standard that measure consistently across the board. Someone going 100 kph is only going 60 mph. 100 looks so much bigger than 60, but they are the same speed. This standard doesn’t confuse you this way. You are able to measure yourself against it the same way I am and the same way the guy on the exact opposite side of this globe from where you are is able to measure himself. Consistency helps in growth, and having a constant standard to measure against will not only help you grow, but be able to show you accurate growth.
Third, how do we reach this standard? This is a daily process. And even though the standard doesn’t change, the process from day to day changes. The process for me will be different for you and it will be different for the guy on the other side of the globe. What you do on day one that brings about wonderful growth won’t work on day 100, or 1,000 or day 10,000. And what you are doing now on day 2,458 isn’t something you could have been doing on day 23. You wouldn’t have been able to even consider that you were capable of doing what you are doing now. Each day, you will need to seek guidance for that day. And each day, you will need to respond to the guidance offered you. If you don’t seek, you won’t know where to go. If you seek but don’t follow, then you won’t get anywhere. You must first seek and then follow.
This leads to the final question, which was the first. And it makes sense that we put it that way because the Standard is the first and the last. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. The Standard is Jesus Christ. He is our aim, our goal and the one we should desire to become more like everyday. We can’t walk the steps He did. We can’t make the choices He made because we are going to be faced with a much different set of circumstances. But in each circumstance, we can train ourselves to respond how He responded. In love. In patience. With justice. With eternity in mind, He showed us how to love others patiently with true justice.
The standard of this world keeps getting lowered and lowered. Where is this going to lead? Naturally to not having any standard at all. First rule is… there are no rules. That is where we are headed and what we have to look forward to if we follow this world down this dizzying spiral. But, we can have so much more life, a fuller life, a richer life and life with purpose, meaning and passion by setting our standard on Jesus.
This takes us back to how do we get there. Remember, we have to seek and then obey. Seek and follow. Best way to do this is in one motion. Yoke yourself to Jesus. Then, almost simultaneously you will be seeking direction and getting a response that you basically have to follow because He will take you there anyway. Jesus is going to call you. Answer.
When you take a topic like purity, and know that that is “your thing”, it’s very easy to start picking and choosing what it all is supposed to look like. But what is that based on? What’s the bottom line…the standard for comparison? I have studied purity for almost 15 years now. I have a lot of opinions. I have made many choices in my life in order to do what I am called to do living purely for Christ. When you couple that with being a speaker on the topic of purity and telling other people what they can do to live a pure life, there can be a lot of room for misunderstanding. Misunderstanding on your end by not knowing my heart, my values, or where I’m coming from. Then from my perspective, I could also sit on a pretty big throne of judgment.
Most definitely I want you to live a pure life and experience the freedom I have found in that. I certainly want you to know what an awesome thing it is and how it can truly shape your life, your heart and your mind. The biggest piece in all of this is the why and for Whom we are living purely for. The answer is Jesus. He is the standard.
I don’t do what I do, say what I say, or believe what I believe for myself. In all these things, I have learned from God’s word, I have learned from experience (meaning good choices and very bad ones) and I have learned these things over time. I have personally seen what works and what doesn’t. I have watched others around me struggle and fail because they have set a different standard for themselves, usually based on their own wants and desires. I have also watched others who were failing miserably make different choices. Choices that were biblical. Hard choices that screamed of purity in their life. I have watch these lives be completely transformed by the amazing redeeming love and grace of Jesus.
In all that I do, Jesus is my standard. My heart is that He will be your standard too.
Standard means: 1) (noun) Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model. 2) (adjective) Serving as a basis of weight, measure, value, comparison, or judgment.
Over the weeks and months to come, I hope that you gain a sense of desiring an even greater walk of purity in your life. I pray that you will discover the nearness you feel to the Lord when you remove things of this world and replace them with Him. Whether married or single, a teen, young adult, or beyond, the steps we take each day should be drawing us closer to Him. Jesus lived His entire life purely. There was never a bad or sinful thought. There was never a misdeed. There was never jealously, lust or greed in His heart. Yet he has called us, me and Rob, to live a life of purity and teach others the joy of doing the same. Except we are sinful. We haven’t lived our lives purely and we daily battle the same things that you may be dealing with right now.
What a great thing that is!!! That means that you don’t have to wonder if Rob and I have it all figured out! You have no need to assume if I have ever struggled in my life, or if I still have areas that I have to keep a short leash on before the Lord so that I don’t get out of line. Our battle, yours and mine, is each day and it is ongoing until heaven.
What I can tell you is this. Jesus changed me. He changed my heart and my thinking because He became my standard. I prayed for a new heart and He has given it to me by His words, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) I asked for a brain transplant and He rewired my thought processes by me not being “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [my] mind, that [I] may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) I know exactly who I used to be and how I used to think, speak and act. I am beyond grateful that this is not the woman that I am today and I can clearly see and speak of Who has changed me.
My transformed life gives me great hope for you if you are struggling with areas of purity, and even if you may not be fully aware of the impurity you still have in your life. Of course, I am certainly including sexual purity of thought, heart and action, but is not ONLY about sexual purity. Gossip, swearing, envy, bitterness, back-stabbing or rudeness, all those things that you or I think, or say, or do that cause us to be impure. Even more so, it’s not just what we see or hear, but what do we do with that thought, with what we saw, or with what our ears hear on a daily basis. Just today I got stuck with words in my mind that I didn’t want to have in there, but there they were. It was too late. I didn’t choose to see them, but they came across my eyes and into my mind nonetheless. I had to figure a way to get past the words, hold the thought captive enough to ask God to help get the words pulled right back out of my mind. And He is faithful to cleanse us each day with all that we encounter.
As the years have passed, I have heard many stories about the lives of people I know. I consider it a great privilege to hear the heart of those around me whether it’s students, parents, friends, ministry leaders, personal acquaintances or strangers. I probably can’t say, “I’ve heard it all,” but I sure have heard a lot. Struggles, heartbreaking stories, hopelessness and defeat. I can encourage, but I can’t fix. I can point in a direction, but I can’t get you there myself. I can tell you what has worked for me, and challenge you to dig deeper into yourself with the Lord to see things in a new light and to push you towards a closer walk with Him.
I love to share my story with others because it clearly shows that I haven’t always done things “right.” It’s important that I remember that fact and also important for you to know it too. As our blog continues and we write more and have more opportunities to speak, I pray you will dig deep with us. Seek out that which may be hindering you, or if you already know, get ready to be transformed. He is forever the same and He will do in you greater things than you can ever imagine. Are you ready to set the standard?