Randy Langham
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Many years ago an abusive carpenter yelled often at his partner because he never got a piece of wood cut to the specifications. He might say, “Cut me a piece of 1x4 pine 10 feet, 4 and 15/16 of an inch long. Each time the boss made a request the piece of wood came back a length different than what was requested. After days of yelling and complaining it was finally discovered the two tape measures were not the same. At least one of them was broken or just off. Instead of wasting time figuring out which tape measure was off they decided it would be faster to throw away both of them and buy two new ones making sure they gave the same readings for the same lengths.

Everything in life has to have a standard. Even time has to have a standard. When you go by your watch and think you have shown up for work one minute early but your boss yells at you for being one minute late who is right? His watch says you are late, and your watch says you are early. There must be an agreed upon standard ahead of time so everyone is on the same page. No the standard is not Big Ben.

A recent football game contained a referee throwing a flag and walking off 10 yards.  Before the next play could start, another referee commented and they concluded they should have marked off only 5 yards. The teams tried to run another play and again another referee stopped the play before it started to say no yards should have been marked off at all for yet a different reason. Those of us in the stands were shaking our heads trying to figure out which referee had the real standard and what was really going on.

Have you had these moments? You try to discuss (or argue about) a matter and both of you are determined you are right, and both of you have different standards. This occurs way too often.

Many standards are used. Some young people would say, “If it is on the Internet it must be true!” Senior citizens might say, “Well, according to my experiences, …” Other senior citizens might say, “We never did it that way before!” Bureaucrats might say, “We have to live according to the rules!” Emotional people might say, “But we don’t want to offend anyone!” Controllers might say, “My way or the highway!” Scientists might say, “We need to look at the empirical data!” Philosophers might draw their conclusions from reasoning.

So who is right?

What if your mommy and daddy say something different? What if your pastor gives yet another opinion? Who is right?

God’s desire is that we put aside all our opinions and beliefs and first go to the real source of all truth - God, Himself.

Jesus said of His Father, He is true (John 7:18). Jesus said of Himself, I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6). God said of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6). Because God is the truth and cannot tell a lie, then every word of God is true. Jesus said to His Father, Your word is truth (John 17:17).

Ask the average Bible-believing Christian and you are likely to hear, “There is only one standard - the Bible.” But do Christians really believe this to be true? To find out, jump into this discussion with all emotions flared. Consider hot button topics like anger, church and politics, same-sex marriage, borrowing money, divorce and remarriage, a wife submitting to her husband, disciplining children, or joining a union at work. On what do you base your arguments? Do you first come up with a conclusion and then go find a source which confirms your belief?

Say you believe anger is good. Then you might go to the Bible and claim Ephesians 4:26, which says, be angry, and yet do not sin. Or you might say, “Well Jesus was angry when He overturned the tables in the temple!” If so, then what about the hundreds of other verses that say things like, anger resides in the bosom of fools (Eccl 7:9) and that anger is as bad as murder (Matt 5:21-22)?

George Muller, a giant of the faith in the 19th century gave these words to begin your study of what God wants you to do:

1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatsoever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.1

The only standard for making decisions is God Himself and what He has said. A right understanding of God and His words will result in wise decisions no matter the topic.

1  George Mueller, “How to Ascertain the Will of God,” Answers to Prayer, 6.

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