Tuesday, May 17, 2016

INFLUENCES AND STANDARD

I saw a poster with a message written on it on Facebook that I want to respond to. Here is the message:

"The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best-version-of-ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great."

Here is my response:

I understand the underlying message of this quote - surround yourself with people who will challenge you, grow you as a person and mature you in every aspect of your life. It is good encouragement. You can hear a BUT coming can you not? But the following are my reservations.

Looking at this from another angle, the quote said, "The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards." Then you need a Constant Standard, that you will never acquire but that you can always strive toward - Christlikeness. 

The quote continues, "They either help us to become the best-version-of-ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends." Here the gear has shifted from the standard(s) used to measure our lives to the influences that help or hinder the process. Gravitating toward our friendships should be no surprise. The catch for all of us, especially Christians, is to discern our influences and allow Christ Jesus to be our Best Friend. Jesus says in John 15:15
  • "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." 
Look to people as an example, but not a standard. Paul was an example to the early believers. Look to Jesus Christ as the Ultimate Example and Standard. The Christian's Standard should be Christ and His Word, not the influence of those around us. The influences around us, such as our friends, may help us progress, but it should all line-up according to God's Plan and His Standard found in His Word. What people deem as their standards apart from Christ and His ways are shifting and unstable. God's Standard is Rock Solid and sure. This is why I pause and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to remember and know your Influences And Standard.