RAISE THE BAR TO HOLINESS

Years ago, as a mechanic I had a plaque on my tool box that stated one of Murphy’s Laws — “Do a little more each day and soon everyone will expect more.” It was meant to be a negative statement on work. However, it can also point to raising the bar in your life. As a Christ-follower you should never be satisfied with minimum requirements in living for Jesus. Subconsciously each of us set a standard: this is the least I'm willing to accept from myself. Different people set the bar at different levels.

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm not a bad person. At least, I've never killed anybody." That's an interesting place to set the bar, isn't it? As long as they've never taken a human life, they're convinced they must be OK. Others set the bar a little higher. They'll say, "I'm a good person. I pay my taxes." Others raise the bar a little higher. "Hey, I'm a good person. I help my neighbor — sometimes. I go to church — sometimes." Everybody's got their own minimum daily requirement — the least they're willing to accept from themselves.

Here’s a suggestion. Increase the minimum you'll accept from yourself. Set a new standard. The apostle Peter challenges us to raise the bar. He says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:14-15). Peter is saying that you need to set the bar at holiness. Stop chasing after the things you used to chase, “living to satisfy your own desires,” he says, and instead, strive be holy and obedient.

Step up your game. Challenge yourself. Begin to say, “I'm raising the bar in my spiritual life. Each day I’m going to spend time alone with God — at least a few minutes in the Word and a few minutes in prayer. I will not settle for less. This is my new minimum daily requirement.” Or how about challenging yourself to say, “I'm raising the bar in my marriage. Every day I will serve my spouse and be faithful and true like I never have before, and I’m going to encourage my spouse in a new way, with a new attitude. I may not be perfect, but I'm going to increase the minimum that I will accept from myself.”

Raise the bar. Stop living like you did in the past, where you lived to satisfy your desires, and start living as God's obedient child. That's the standard you strive to achieve. It's not good enough to say, “I'm not as bad as some of the bad people I know.” That's not the standard anymore. Here is your standard, 1 Peter 1:16 — "You must be holy because I am holy." Expect more from yourself! Hold yourself to a higher standard. Increase the minimum daily requirement.

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