Abandoning the standard

Imagine that you're out of milk, your car is broken down and the nearest market is miles away. You call your friend and ask them to drive you to the store. Your friend arrives and you hop in their car. As you start off to the store, your friend confidently exclaims "I'm tired of the authorities telling me what I can do! We've been oppressed for too long! Today I declare that every red traffic light actually means 'go', and every green light means 'stop'!" You bust up laughing, thinking your friend is feeling a bit feisty today, until you watch in horror as they blast through a red light. Several cars narrowly miss smacking the car you're in and the sounds of blaring horns erupt behind you.

Your amusement turns to sheer terror as you plead with your friend to stop fooling around. "I'm not fooling around!" your friend replies. "Traffic laws were designed to enslave and oppress us! I'm not putting up with it any longer! My way is truly the right way!" You momentarily ponder if your friend was poisoned or might have experimented with drugs. The thought dissipates as you both race through another red light. Your heart pounds out of your chest as you try to reason -- unsuccessfully -- with your deluded and headstrong friend. Your blood runs ice-cold when you spot an eighteen wheeler moments away from slamming straight into your side of the car as your friend careens through the last red light of your lives.

It's happening -- it's real!
As strange and silly that fictional story may sound, countless numbers of people are making similarly destructive decisions with their lives every single day. Not only are they making careless and potentially dangerous choices for themselves, but their choices affect those close to them, too. Just like the fictional story I told above, people who choose to twist, ignore or distort the right standards of life also subject the 'passengers' in their life to certain grief and sadness.

God loves geeks too!
Why Jesus?

"Will, what the heck are you talking about?" you might ask. I'm talking about people choosing to be something they are not. I'm talking about people who think that because they may have an unusual feeling or strange thought that they should jump the track of life that they're supposed to be on and choose a path that may lead to a lot of sadness, regret and even an unfortunate end of their life -- and the life of others. I'm talking about groups of people who have banded together to support a wrong and destructive standard.

What is 'the right standard'?
If you really and truly search your heart, look at the evidence around you and open up the eyes of your heart, there will be zero doubt that the world you live in has been created by a powerful and loving God. People have debated endlessly for generations whether there is a God and if he created the universe, the world, and us. I'm not here to debate that, because those who think there is no God are not going to listen to and accept what I have to say. Only God himself can reach those who deny his existence. If they still deny him, sadly, they choose their own downfall.

When God created the universe, the world, and us, he had a definite design for how we were to act, what we should and shouldn't do, and clearly set those expectations for us throughout the history of man. Unfortunately, the devil, who is very much real, played on our feelings and caused us to blow it, big time, in the garden of Eden. Because we disobeyed God's command at the beginning of our time on earth, we got ejected from paradise, and the devil was allowed to become the ruler of this world. Since the very beginning, the devil has done nothing but lie, cheat and destroy people's lives. The devil HATES the standard God set for us, and will stop at nothing to distort and pervert it.

The best way for anyone to learn God's standard is to read the Bible. If you pick an accurate and easy-to-understand translation of the Bible, read it, understand it and apply what is taught in it to your life, you will be doing a good job living by God's standard, and you won't be easily fooled or distracted by the devil's lies and trickery. Eventually, you'll be able to help other people out of their predicament and they too can experience the right life God gives.

Feelings are often a tool of the devil
I have heard people say "Since I was a kid, I always felt attracted to the same sex". Suppose a young man says "When I saw a woman at the store today, I felt like I should be just like her". How about "I loved being pregnant, but now I feel disgusted that something foreign is growing in my body". "Feel", "feel", "feel". If you only live by your feelings, you are letting the devil play you -- he is the one oppressing and enslaving you, not 'the man', not God, not good laws that try to keep you safe and not the good standards that help you live a good, meaningful life.

Yes, God did design us to feel some emotions, like guilt, love and compassion. Just like everything else God designs, the devil works hard to corrupt and distort. What is so tragic and frustrating is when people take the bait of the devil and make life-altering (or life-ending) choices based on feelings alone. What is so nonsensical and maddening is when those who don't live to please God encourage vulnerable people to join with them in rejecting the good standard. As more and more deceived people accept and encourage others to be like them, you get a mob of people who, like the fictional driver in my earlier story, are barreling toward a very bad ending -- and they are blinded to the damage they are causing.

Do you, a man, feel like you should actually be a woman? Look at God's standard and choose your actions based on that, instead of feelings. Is your auntie or step-mother pressuring you to put your four-year-old daughter on testosterone because two months ago your daughter playfully chirped that she wanted to be a man, but hasn't said a thing about it since? Wake up! How can a four-year-old child make a good decision about the rest of their life!? Does a popular girl at school often text you, saying you should just kill yourself? Do you feel like you're better off dead? God breathed life into you -- he created you to live and not believe the lies of the devil. Every one of these situations are caused by someone obeying their feelings (or the feelings of others) instead of following the right standard, God's standard.

The Bible says "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33) It also says "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides (lives) forever." (1 John 2:15-17) and "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

Guys, don't think for a second that I'm sitting here, judging folks. I've made some pretty stupid choices in my own life, and probably not done doing so. But the thing is, when I make dumb choices, or I get wrapped up in some ungodly feelings, God's Holy Spirit tugs at my heart to let me know. Not only that, I also have a beautiful wife and others in my life that, lovingly, show me what's going on so that I snap out of it and shake it off. The blood of Jesus was spilled to wash me clean from my mistakes, and I'm truly grateful! I'm not writing this blog post to condemn or judge others, I'm writing this to help point you to God's standard.

Just so you know, following God's standard doesn't guarantee a trouble-free life. Some people will have relatively smooth sailing, while some will experience trial after trial. Followers of Jesus have to remember to just focus on Jesus, and not complain if their lives aren't like other Christians. It's not good for lovers of God to compare and complain. Oh yes, this definitely goes for me too!

Following the right standard, God's standard, is not popular in this world and time that we're living in. Many who have bought into the devil's lies will very loudly protest when those who follow God's standard make right and good choices. Unfortunately, those in power sometimes will side with the wrong crowd, even making laws that reinforce wrong standards. While it may be hard, those who love God shouldn't hate or condemn those who hurl insults and hurtful judgments toward us when we cling to the right standard. Take heart -- even Jesus' enemies yelled and screamed insults at him when he was hanging on a cross for us. Try the best you can to view those who yell, mock and judge God and his children as people who have been lied to, used and abused by the devil. Being God's kids in a world ruled by the devil means we often have a huge target on our backs. Just look to God and his perfect standard, and God will help you get through.

Suit up!
Finally, if you love God and his standards, you really need to watch for the devil's attacks. Those who love God and follow Jesus the best they can are always participants in a very real war! No, you won't see literal bombs going off, missiles flying or tanks blasting away, but in this war waged by the devil, and those who are deceived by him, there are always casualties! The devil will use people, then dump them when they're no longer of use to him. Don't get duped or dumped by the devil! Instead, look into, learn and live the right standard -- God's standard!

God bless you, and thank you for reading! Emoji of face grinning big




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