The concept of God’s standard is central to many religions and philosophies. It refers to the principles, values, and way of life that God desires for humanity. Understanding God’s standard can provide guidance on how to live a moral, ethical, and meaningful life.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: God’s standard refers to living according to His commands and will as revealed in scripture and through Christ’s example. It involves loving God and loving your neighbor selflessly.
In this approximately 3000 word article, we will explore in depth the biblical basis for God’s standard, its key components, and how it applies to daily living today.
The Biblical Basis for God’s Standard
Old Testament Laws and Commands
The Old Testament provides extensive laws, commands, and principles that God expected the Israelites to live by. These include the 10 Commandments, ceremonial laws, civil laws, and more. God set a high ethical and moral standard that served as the foundation for righteous living.
Key themes include justice, holiness, obedience, love for God and others. Though not all laws apply today, they reveal God’s expectations for upright conduct.
Jesus’s Teachings in the Gospels
In the four Gospels, Jesus provides amplified insight into God’s standards. He emphasized loving God and neighbor, treating others well, integrity, grace, mercy, generosity, and more. Jesus often focused on the inner heart attitude behind outward actions.
He confronted self-righteous religious leaders for neglecting “the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23). Through His life, death, and teachings, Jesus revealed God’s perfect standard in human form.
Instructions for Christian Living in the Epistles
The New Testament Epistles provide practical instructions for Christian living and upholding God’s standards. There is emphasis on righteous conduct, sexual purity, humility, forgiveness, hospitality and other virtues.
Passages like Romans 12-16, Galatians 5-6, Ephesians 4-6, James 1-5 and others outline expectations for attitude and behavior for followers of Christ. A key principle is bringing thoughts, words and deeds in increasing alignment with God’s high benchmark.
Key Aspects of God’s Standard
Loving God Fully
Loving God fully means having an intimate relationship with Him by knowing His character and His word. It involves worshipping Him, praying to Him, studying the Bible, and living in obedience to His commands.
God desires our wholehearted devotion and not just half-hearted lip service (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30). Loving God looks like making Him our top priority in life rather than pursuing worldly things like money, status, and pleasure (Matthew 6:33).
Loving Your Neighbor
Loving our neighbor is caring for others through compassion, kindness, generosity, and sacrifice. Jesus said the second greatest command is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). This means considering others’ needs as significant as our own and treating them with dignity and respect, regardless of differences.
Practically, we can love others by being hospitable, forgiving wrongs, giving to meet needs, and looking out for the marginalized. Serving others brings glory to God (Matthew 25:31-46).
Practicing Justice and Righteousness
God calls His people to actively pursue justice and righteousness in society. We must advocate for the vulnerable, challenge oppression, serve the poor, and confront injustice wherever it is found (Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8).
This means holding institutions accountable, speaking truth to power, and ensuring fair treatment for all people as created in God’s image. According to a 2022 study, Christians ranked promoting justice and righteousness as one of their top moral imperatives. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
In addition to outward acts of love and justice, God’s standard includes living virtuously by developing Christlike character. Qualities like integrity, humility, courage, patience, kindness, self-control, and perseverance reflect who God is and set us apart from the world (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-8).
This happens as we submit to the Spirit’s work in transforming us into Christ’s image (Romans 8:29) through spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, service, and Bible study. Living virtuously brings glory to God, blesses others, and leads to peace and contentment.
Applying God’s Standard in Daily Life
Putting God First
Putting God first in our daily lives means prioritizing our relationship with Him above all else (Matthew 6:33). This involves regularly spending time in prayer, Bible reading, and worship. It also means evaluating how we spend our time, talents, and finances in light of God’s priorities.
For example, tithing back to God reminds us that everything we have is a gift from Him. Living with an awareness of God’s presence and seeking His guidance for decisions helps us align our lives to His standards.
Jesus called His followers to serve others, especially those in need (Mark 10:45). We can apply God’s standard of selfless love by generously giving our time, resources, and talents to benefit others. This could involve volunteering in the community, going on mission trips, or simply doing thoughtful deeds for friends and neighbors in everyday life.
For instance, the early church made sure widows were provided for (Acts 6:1-6). God cares deeply for the vulnerable, and serving them demonstrates His love in action.
Making Ethical Choices
As Christians, we are called to make decisions informed by God’s standards of righteousness, honesty, and self-control as laid out in the Bible. Before making major choices about our careers, finances, relationships and more, we can prayerfully consult Scripture and consider whether our options align with biblical values.
For example, rather than cheating to get ahead in school or work, we can pursue excellence with integrity. Making choices guided by ethics grounded in our faith helps us honor God in all areas of life.
Pursuing Spiritual Disciplines
Just as athletes train their bodies, Christians must also train themselves spiritually to grow closer to God. Spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, silence/solitude, scripture meditation, worship, service, fellowship and more help us cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus (see websites like https://www.navigators.org/resource/spiritual-disciplines/ for details).
Setting aside consistent time for such habits allows God to transform us increasingly into His likeness. By God’s grace, practicing spiritual disciplines imprints His very character on us over time. Our lives then overflow with the fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace and more (Galatians 5:22-23).
In conclusion, God’s standard challenges us to pursue moral excellence, spiritual devotion, selfless service, and just relations with others. Though we cannot perfectly attain it, keeping our eyes fixed on God’s standard steers us towards the abundant life He desires for us.
As we seek to apply it through the Spirit’s help, our lives can reflect God’s goodness to the world.