Standards: On What Do You Base Yours?

Recently, I’ve been noticing that my friends, Bible believing, Church going, Godly friends have standards that are very different from mine when it comes to music, television, movies, and entertainment in general.  My question is, why are our standards different? We’re all human, subject to the same temptations and struggles, and especially if you’re a guy,  you’re more vulnerable in some ways than us girls. We use the same book to find our standards. If anything, guys, your standards as a now and future leader should be higher than most. Why aren’t they? What are your standards, and what scripture verses do you have to support them?

This has been on my heart for a while, so bear with me, God’s put this on my heart for a reason.

As believers, we’re supposed to be lights in the darkness, when non-believers look at us, from how we dress and act to our choices in entertainment, I would rather they find themselves wondering “What’s wrong with that freak, why are they so strict?” than thinking to themselves “Oh, cool, they’re just like me!” If we’re just like them, where is the proof of the Holy Spirit in us? Should our standards not reflect our respect for the Savior who died to put to death the sinful things that fill some of this entertainment that surrounds us?

I met a man who is a greeter at NewSpring Church not long ago and one of the things he told me right from the start is that they have music by Led Zeppelin, KISS (Which stands for Knights In Satan’s Service, FYI), and others before their services sometimes, because they want to be cool and show new people that Christians are easy going and not judgmental. Music created to worship sex, drugs, alcohol and Satan have no business in our Churches, in our iPods, on our laptops, anywhere. They mock what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

We are what people look to as examples of what Christ can do in a person’s life, and we are supposed to constantly improve upon our standards and purity. We all get frustrated when people refuse to listen when we talk about Christ because “Christians are all just a bunch of hypocrites”, our standards should not be based on how much we think we can “handle”, but on what scripture says.

We are weak, we can’t handle what we think we can, and letting ourselves watch movies with lots of cursing and/or sexual content will slowly, centimeter by centimeter, drag us down.  We will begin to do, say and think things we never thought we would even consider.  

Satan looks at people like us, people who stand out, people who are respected, and plots how he will devour us. [“Stay alert! Watch out for your adversary the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8] He knows we’re too smart to go for some random pop-up or internet add for a porn site. So he’ll start off small, and cleverly tempt you with something as simple as being entertained by a movie that’s “not that bad”. Sin is sin, no matter what pretty, clever package it may be wrapped in. A movie that’s well made but full of sin is not worth God’s time, and you’re living on God’s time. It’s not free, spend it wisely. Soon things like cursing and sexual content don’t really bother you anymore, and you’ll occasionally watch something that doesn’t quite meet up to your standards. Eventually you’ll be so used to that content, your old standards just seem silly, so you’ll lower them. And it will continue on like that. Slowly. Inch by inch. Like grass grows. You never see it growing, but all of a sudden you look out there and it needs mowed again…

I’ve seen it happen to too many guys, strong christian guys, smart guys. Years from when they thought to themselves, “oh, it’s not that bad” they’re sitting alone in their room looking at porn and can’t figure out how they ever got to that place. It seemed so impossible. They thought it would never happen to them. They were strong enough to resist it, so they thought. Women too often find themselves captive to sinful addictions such as porn. It’s a disease that plagues humanity.

Well, it’s not impossible. It’s so easy to fall into that pit, particularly if you’re tip toeing along the edge from time to time, because you think your balance is quite good. You think you’re strong enough not to fall. You’re chuckling quietly at that sexual innuendo and you don’t even realize that the demons are laughing at you behind your back.

Guess what, you are human and you are weak.

If your standards aren’t inline with scripture, your standards are wrong. It’s scripture or nothing. Opinions don’t count, “how much you can handle” doesn’t count. 

“I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” ~Psalm 101:3 (Also translated: “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.”)

“Abstain from every form of evil.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (Also translated: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”)

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” ~Galatians 5:19

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.‘ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” ~Matthew 5:27-30

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  ~Matthew 5:48

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” ~Ephesians 5:3

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” ~Colossians 3:5

“I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” ~2 Corinthians 12:21 (Possibly indulged unknowingly?)

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside of his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”  ~1 Corinthians 6:18

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” ~Ephesians 4:19

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,” ~Romans 8:13

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” ~Proverbs 4:23-27

“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,” ~Mark 7:21

As a Believer, you are a Leader, you have friends, coworkers, siblings, and others who look up to you. You have a responsibility to be the very best example of Christlike standards. If you’re a guy, you’re most likely going to be the Leader of a household someday, and should begin now to practice the ways you want to lead and the standards that you will set for your future home.

God made it unquestionably clear what his standards are. Perfection is his goal. We should be ever growing more and more like him, getting closer and closer to his standard. It’s not fun, it’s not entertaining and it can be painful, but we have to “Put to death” [Colossians 3:5] our desires in order to become more like Christ.

So maybe that means seeing less movies. Oh darn. How much more important is it that you grow closer to Christ than be entertained for a few hours? Spend those hours with Him. Or in a good book. Or re-watching an old classic that has nobility and purity at its heart. Something that makes your heart swell with the desire to be courageous and pure. Not something that you have to fight against becoming like.

We all know how important it is to surround ourselves with friends who bring us up rather than drag us down. It’s no different with movies, music, books, etc. We need to prevent “even a hint”of impurity from creeping into our minds and hearts. Even if we never do anything that looks impure to others, it’s whats going on in our hearts and minds that matter to God. He didn’t go through the trouble of dying for me so that I could live as I please. He died to free us from the chains of sin, and casually allowing sin to become entertainment is insulting to Him.

I’d like you, my reader, to do two things, read Proverbs 1:20-33 and Proverbs 2 (Proverbs 5 is really good as well, it talks about how alluring these things can be. That’s something movies are fantastic at, using a false pretense of enjoyment to pollute our minds in the subtlest of ways, often times without us taking any notice of it.), and take some time to pray about it. What is God saying to you? Remember to check any of your arguments or protests with Scripture.

I’d very much like to get feedback on this from you guys! Let me know what you think.

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