When I was a child we used to sing the song "The Battle Belongs To The Lord". There was a line which says "He'll raise up a standard, the power of His blood, the battle belongs to the Lord. I loved the song BUT did not really understand what this meant. Over the week God has been showing me that to walk in the power God has us to walk, we need to have a life that exhibits the standards that God has given us to live by that are given to us in the Bible. These standards are not for our salvation but so we can live in the power God can give us when we live a life in the way that honours Him.
I sometimes watch TED Talks that inspire me to live well. I came across a talk by Michael Brody-Waite. He was a drug addict who had his life turned around when he attended a group which helped him by loving him and giving him three things to live by that would take him from a place of addiction to success. They are:-
Surrender the outcome
Do uncomfortable work
It was not an easy road, but he found that being totally honest with people, doing the right thing all the time and not just doing what is needed to get the outcome you wanted and finally doing things that are not easy took him from a place of addiction to a place of success. He went from being an addict to a CEO of one of the top American companies by raising his standard. He still lives by these three standards and has changed his life. Without them, he would return to being an addict.
As a Christian, we were sin addicts. Our lives before Christ were about getting our own way at all cost and we were caught up in the lie that it did not matter what we did. The main thing for us was to do whatever it took to get the outcome we were after. As a sin addict, we came to Christ and He has forgiven us. Now, we are being called by Christ to live a new way. To raise our standard like Michael was challenged to do. The way He is calling us to live is under the standards He has given us in His Word. No longer are we slaves to sin, but God is calling us to live with the standards He has set for us. This is not about our salvation, but it is about living in power and with the purpose, He has for us as His children. Living with His standards will mean we are able to walk as sons of God in power to make the difference He has called us to make on the earth.
To begin with, what is a standard? In the middle of the 14th Century, people of high rank would wear a badge or heraldic standard that would show what they stood for. This badge was also displayed by the army of the country as a flag called a standard that would be raised and even go in the front of the army and would be a sign of war. It would have on it a coat of arms, a heraldic badge which would symbolise what the army or country the army fought for stood for as a people. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. The standard is highly prized in war. On it are engraved the names of special victories and the fields of old renowned. It is the last disgrace to lose the standard, and in many a foray and fierce campaign, men have fallen in heaps around the standard-bearer.
For Australia, on our coat of arms, we have two animals that cannot move backwards. They can only move forwards. So our standard as Australians is that we will always be moving forward as a nation. When we become part of God's family, we walk under the standard that God has given us in His Word and through Jesus. As we submit to Jesus as our king, we want to please Him and represent Him by living by His standards. Our label as a "Christian" tells people that we are living as His people and we act, live and think according to how He has called us. We are no longer our own but we have been bought with a price.
In the online Collins dictionary, a standard is:-
A standard is something that you use in order to judge the quality of something else.
You use a standard to describe things which are usual and normal.
For a Christian, a standard is an acceptable behaviour. The standards describe what behaviours are normal and usual for us to live by and the moral principles that affect our attitudes and behaviour. The standards are what we recommend people live by. It is so important that these standards do not become a religious obsession but as Christ is all in my life I live to please Him and walk as He calls me to walk. I desire to become Christ-like in all I do so a learn His standards and work to live by them in His power.
There are many Bible verses that talk about standards. Let's have a quick look at five ideas given in the scriptures about standards:-
1. Because God is holy we are to be holy. but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"Revelation 4:8
"Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16
2. The day of the Lord is coming where all the things of earth will be burnt up. Who we are will remain. This is the most important thing. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,2 Peter 3:11
3. God loves us and His commandments are good for us and help us to live a life that takes away burdens. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.1 John 5:3.
4. God's standards bring life. As we grow to know Jesus and follow Him we seek to become perfect in Him. till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:13 5. We have high standards because we fear God. We, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1
6. God is calling us to be perfect as we seek to live under the standards Christ has set.
God Does Not Give A Participation Trophy
In our society today, the emphasis is on participation and everyone gets a trophy. Because we gave it a go then we deserve a medal is a way society thinks about participation. We lower the standard in the church so everyone can belong and we make being a Christian easier by lowering or even removing standards. When we read the Parable of the Talents we read that we will be rewarded for what we do with what God gives us. There is no participation trophy for just calling ourselves Christians and going to Church. God has high standards. Making the standards low or even removing them so everyone can feel good and be successful in destroying the Church. God is calling us to a higher standard and He will enable us to reach it. I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.
We Are Under Attack
The Church of God or His saints in this world has many numerous enemies who are all united under Satan to overthrow us and destroy God's kingdom. The enemy attacks "like a flood" with great violence and noise as if what Satan is doing is sweeping everything clean before him. (Revelation 12:15) In Psalm 93:3 we read that the floods have lifted up. In Isaiah 11:10 we read "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”
When we lift up the Standard who is Jesus, the enemy is repulsed and put to flight. The Spirit of the Lord will drive him back like the waters of Jordan which were driven back towards their foundation when they stood between the Israelites and the Promise Land. We know that not only has Satan been defeated through Jesus, as we raise standard we can drive back the evil one in our lives, in our church and community. It is time for Christians to raise the standard and drive back the enemy.
When Is The Standard Raised and What Does It Mean?
The Spirit of the Lord is our standard-bearer. The standard is Christ and He has given us His standard to raise in the following times:
1. For war. When Christ descended to this lower world and came upon an expedition of war against the god of this world and his usurped empire over the children of men, this war was proclaimed (Genesis 3:15).
2. For peace. When peace is proclaimed the white flag or ensign is displayed. As the appearance of God in the nature of man was a signal of war against hell, death and sin; so it was a signal of peace to man upon earth.
3. To show victory. A standard is an ensign of victory. So a risen and living Redeemer is a signal of His victory over the powers of hell.
4. To signal a time of gathering. When the standard is set up, the army is to gather, volunteers are to be enlisted. The manifestation of Christ in the flesh and the revelation of Him in the Gospel is a signal to lost sinners to shake off the tyrannical yoke of sin and Satan, that they may, under Christ's conduct, recover their ancient liberty (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 11:10).
5. To give us direction and give order. When the army is to march, the standard goes before, and the soldiers know where to move by the motion of their standard.
Finally, I would like to finish with a quote from a sermon from Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Finally, let me encourage you – with the verses from Isaiah 59:19, it says,
“So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
In another translation, it says, the Lord will up His banner against the enemy. Today, I am not sure what you are going through in your life, but my prayer is that the Lord will raise the banner against the enemy. When all said and done, we need to become the victorious church Jesus died for! AMEN! We need to source our strength through Christ who went to the Calvary…
We need to tell our soul that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Amen and Amen!
What is your standard today?
Sermons To Watch
Steve Furtick has preached how to raise your standards and who sets your standards. Please take time to watch them and be challenged and encouraged.