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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Gage of Compromise

"Mom,  did you know that I have the unmessiest messy handwriting of all the boys in my classroom?"
This was the intuitive question posed to me this morning on the way to school.
He probably knew what my response was going to be. 
It has been an ongoing conversation between us for the last three years. 
First, when I home-schooled him, then when he entered the classroom again. 
But he continues to try and state his position and his argument.
He is trying to make it o.k. to not try any harder than he has to and make the standard of acceptance below what he and I both know he is capable of.
And he knows he's wrong. He knows that he can do better, and has often.
After responding to his question that I knew he really didn't want an answer to I was hit with his response.
"It takes more time to do it right."
I realized in that moment that what the deeper issue was is that it takes more of him.
And more from him.
The requirement, if he chooses to be okay with not doing his best, is a standard that gets lowered. So even if he does better than his worst it still looks okay and maybe even begins to look good.

I wasn't too shocked by our conversation this morning.
It seems to be a subject that keeps coming up these days.
In church, with friends, in my home, and in my own life.
As our standards seem to have lowered it would seem that God's standards for our lives is on the rise.
Or is it as it has always been and I have become accustomed to and familiar with the okay that has become the norm?
In light of God and His precepts for our lives, when compared with our mediocrity of living, things begin to look different.... take on new meaning. Not look as good as we first presumed them to be.
All of a sudden what should have been all along becomes a revelation.
I sometimes wonder how God does it. How He stays so patient with us, with me, and our attempts to take His role and be Him in our own lives.
I think I would lose it. Reach a point where I just say "Enough is enough!" In many ways I believe God is saying that now. Just not in the way I would. Thank goodness.
He is gracious and loving. Kind and long-suffering. And I know that I struggle with all of that.
BUT God is also just and righteous. Full of integrity....... which means that He doesn't go back on His word and He keeps His standards set. He never changes. They never change.
And just because we think that it should be okay to measure ourselves along side the "messiest" of people and feel good about ourselves, we are missing completely what it is that God has for us if we could just focus on pleasing Him and tracing our steps after His.
It has amazed me how often this sentence has come up when other Christians and I have had  conversations about the relativity of God's Word;
"What it means for you may be different than what it means for me."

What exactly is that supposed to mean?
I have come to believe through the study of God's word, and my own failed attempts, that His Word doesn't change. It hasn't changed. And no amount of trying to change it has ever worked out.
So why would we think that even if we choose to believe in what God has said, that we can bend and twist it to make it look and feel okay to us? In a way that "feels" more comfortable?
To try and mold it next to our standard and try and make it stick.
None of us are dumb. I think we all realize and know that what we are doing is wrong. 
Just like my son. And he was trying valiantly to make it okay as I have often done myself.
But I believe with all my heart in the answer I gave to him today, and I truly believe that it is an echo of what God is trying to say to us now......

"Your teacher deserves your best. God calls us to give our best. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are called to live out the deepest parts of our hearts. If that is compromised then what we allow to be okay in our lives will always be less than what God wants from us. If good is always the best than we will never experience the greater. If we are lining up our standard by others around us using them as our gage, especially those who aren't following God, than we will always come up with a skewed understanding of what is right. But if we are constantly trying to measure our lives and our motives by God's Word, than we will not only find that our standards begin to  change, but we will also feel the benefit of His blessings in our lives. It becomes a job well done. And it always feels good when you have done what you know was right and did it well."
Even if it takes more.... of you.... of your time..... and of your heart.
There is nothing that can compare to it.

And the benefits far outweigh what it takes if we don't choose right. Without compromise.
Gaged along God's standards and not my own. Or anyone else's. Even if we "think" they are okay......

.....until another tomorrow.


"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:7-14

1 comment:

  1. You have spoken straight to my heart. There are times when I know what I am giving is everything I possibly have... then there are other times (more often then I would like) when I know my best is not brought forth. You have reminded me in such an encouraging way to keep giving My Best.. because my Teacher deserves it.