“ My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” – Proverbs 3: 1-7. 

There is a story of a young boy who is looking at a framed picture of his dad, who was away on active military duty. The mother sees the boy is upset and asks “what’s wrong?” “I want daddy to come out of the frame,” the boy says. Sometimes our relationship with God feels like he’s disconnected from the circumstances and situations of your life. There are times in your life and in the life of your family that you want Him to come out of the frame.

Well, in the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s exactly what God has done. When Jesus took on human flesh, God stepped out of the frame and dwelled among us. Jesus raised the bar and the standards regarding every facet of our lives. Understanding those standards is critical to the journey of every family. Sometimes, when we come face to face with those standards, we want God to stay in the frame and on the mantle rather than the middle of our lives. The world teaches us that standards are a barrier for growth and understanding. The world tells you that having no standard is okay – that way you’re flexible and are true to yourself.

The best place to look for your standards is from the creator and designer of your life. He’s laid it all out in His Word. The standards we have to live with come from the Bible. Who would better know the rules and standards that are best for us than the one who created us?

Living up to those standards can be hard, uncomfortable and discouraging at times. Sometimes, our experiences, mindsets, and outlooks could not be more different. God calls us to be involved in the broken situations, the tough relationships, and the relationships with people who are different from us because He knows that through these relationships we can grow.

It is easy to look at God’ standards as the elephant in the middle of the room. Because you have so far to go it can seem impossible to move the needle in the short-term. We are better served, however, by slowing down and simply following Christ’s example. I have seen how powerful it is when family members truly invest in one another. Through Christ’s own life, we see that it is through deep, invested relationships that the world is changed.

Moving toward God’s standard requires us to overcome our self-focused nature and to step outside of our comfort zone.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does culture contribute to the wrong standards?
  2. What methods have you used to keep your lifestyle in line with God’s standards? What is the only effective way to be in alignment with God?
  3. Our world is filled with temptation and distraction. How can a family overcome those influences?
  4. What can we do this week to move toward God’s standard as a family?