Can Our Standards Be Too High?
As leaders we make a stand to live above the standards of this world and that is often reflected in things we don’t do, places we don’t go and things we don’t watch. Many times I’ve heard the comment: “Well, you have to have those standards because you’re a leader!” This is people referring to some standard that to them seems like a “higher standard” than the average Christian should hold. As I was thinking about this I asked the Lord if this mindset is totally accurate. I believe many believers make excuses, continuing to do something that is not entirely met by God’s approval, because they feel that after all, “they’re not in leadership yet and when they become a leader, they’ll change.” As I was meditating on this some time ago, I felt the Lord speak to me and say, “leaders do not have higher standards because they’re leaders; leaders are leaders because they have higher standards.”
This should really change our mindset on how we think about the things we are “required” to do or not do as leaders. I think far too often, we view a standard that is required of us as some rule that we need to make an effort to follow. I believe that what God was saying to me that day is that living above the standards reflected in the world (and sometimes in the church) should not be something we do because we’ve been asked to by those over us in authority, it should be a natural and joyful response from our hearts to God. And ultimately, there is only either God’s standard or man’s standard to follow anyway.
Through the entire book of Leviticus (which has to do with holy living) we see that the closer a person comes to the glory of the Lord, the higher degree of holiness is required of them. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” The priests were consecrated and separated unto service and were not to live according to the standards of the average Israelite. And what was their reward? The Lord Himself was their joy, reward and inheritance as well as the actual work of the priesthood! For them it was a reward to serve in the House of God. They needed nothing else when they had Him!
Now in the New Covenant, we are all priests and leader or not, we should strive to live in holiness, not because it is expected of us by men, but because we want to come closer to God and honour Him. Holiness is a relational issue, not just a moral issue. Your opinion and view of God will determine how you feel about obeying Him. As we get closer to God, He will point out certain things that might not be morally wrong but would distract us from our relationship with Him. Anything that separates us from God or distracts us from Him becomes our enemy. It is not always about if something is “right or wrong”, but if the Holy Spirit asks us to do something, we should do it joyfully with a heart of obedience, rather than question it because it might be “morally acceptable”. A growing relationship with God will result in a joyful increasing commitment of every area of our lives, both voluntarily and as a result of obedience to His commands! With this in mind, it becomes a joy, rather than burden to be a person of “higher standards”!