#845 Raise your standards
I have always enjoyed word games – one of the very few things I miss about the commute was having time to do the crosswords in the Metro each morning and in the Evening Standard coming home. This week I picked up a magazine, and there was a crossword clue of “banner, flag (8)”. After getting some other words in to give me a hint with letters, it turned out the answer was “standard”. Ironically a non-standard use of the word in modern times!
At the weekend away, Matt mentioned the different names for God in passing, and I thought about Jehovah Nissi, God is my banner. I was stood there thinking I should really do some research into exactly what that means when I recalled the word “standard”. What are our standards in relation to our faith? Are we upholding the standards God sets for his children? Do we accept ourselves doing less than we should in terms of our faith? Do we think big enough when we talk about God? Have our standards slipped in some way? Big questions, but sometimes there are glaringly obvious answers – the activities we choose to engage in, how we treat others, how we come to spend time with God are all standards we should set for ourselves.
In manufacturing, standards ensure that products meet minimum thresholds. They range from safety standards to quality standards. When they aren’t met, there are implications – many standards exist because of injuries that have occurred from unsafe products. We also hold retailers to quality standards. Are we guarding our hearts and keeping ourselves safe by upholding spiritual standards? And are we dealing with bare minimums, or quality ones? I imagine it varies, dependent on many factors, but we should encourage one another to raise our standards, whatever they are. None of us are perfect, after all.
Jehovah Nissi was the name Moses gave to the altar that he built to celebrate the defeat of the Amalekites in Exodus 17. While Moses had his rod raised in the air, the Israelites were winning. As they dropped, they began to lose. Aaron and Hur held his arms aloft, and the battle was won. For Moses, the rod was his banner, identifying the Israelites as people of God (it was the same rod that had parted the Red Sea on their escape from Egypt, so symbolic of God’s power). For us today, our spiritual standards set us apart as followers of Christ. Jesus was clear that it is through showing love – Christ’s love – to others that we will be identifiable (John 13:34-35). We wear the commands of our heavenly Father as our banner as long as we are acting on them. Let’s hold them ever higher, and show Jehovah Nissi.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Next week in our week of prayer. We are having a shared prayer meeting with Vineyard Life Church Richmond on Tuesday evening (in the building) so let's do all that we can to be there. Would be great to have at least 50 of our members there.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
This week, our study is based upon the subject of our weekend away. Please ensure that you use the devotionals to catch up or review our teaching on worship from our time away.
Worship is a vital subject that is often misunderstood. We could define worship in many ways and here are a few definitions:
‘We worship what we give most worth to’ (My definition)
‘Worship is our Spirit-birthed, holistic response to the revealed and supreme worth of God.’ (My definition)
‘True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things’ (John Piper)
‘Worship is when the mind rightly understands and the heart is rightly valuing God.’ (John Piper)
‘Worship is not entertainment. Worship is when the people of God come and as priests, lift up their praises, their adoration, their affection to God.’ (R. C. Sproul).
Worship is everything that we do and it also acts of worship of various kinds.
Please read John 4:21-24
True worship is in spirit. This is about worship being from our inner person rather than as a show. What does the previous chapter in John, teach us about how to get the right heart/spirit to worship?
True worship is in truth. How does or can one use the Bible to worship?
We are told that God is seeking worshippers. How do you think that God is wanting to develop your worship?
Please read Proverbs 4:23 (Let’s endeavour to memorise this text.)
SIV - What does this text teach about worship and its effects in regard to mission?
SIV - How can we pray for you regarding your Serving, Investing and Inviting this week (SIV)?