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Learning To Love The Standard


As far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with objective standards. This obsession began with my passion for drawing and art, which eventually led to my fascination with film. Pursuing this passion, I earned my degree in Cinematic Arts at Liberty University, which ultimately brought me to my wife Haylee, and she is the reason I presently live in the great state of Virginia. Since I could first hold a pencil, I have strived to achieve the objective standard.


There is a word I particularly love: Verisimilitude. Broken down, it consists of "Veri" - meaning truth, and "Similitude" - meaning similarity. Verisimilitude essentially means resembling truth. As an artist, especially in film, I am always seeking Verisimilitude because I want my stories to reflect substance, resembling the reality in which we live. 


With this post, my goal is to engage our minds in learning to love the standard and to strive for Verisimilitude in our Christian lives. However, to resemble truth, we must understand that there is an objective standard for truth. We need to love and know this standard, pursue it relentlessly, and recognize that we will never achieve it on our own. 


Subjectivism has plagued our world since the fall of Adam and Eve. We see in Genesis 3 the phrase that initiated the subjectivism movement - "Did God actually say?" This question lies at the heart of subjectivism, and it marked the downfall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. It continues to plague our culture, churches, and people's interactions with God's word. Tonight, we will discuss the implications of this way of thinking and how to combat it. 

"37 Then Pilate said to him, 'So you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose, I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.' 38 Pilate said to him, 'What is truth?'" 


As we grapple with Pilate's question, "What is truth?", I want to highlight that the Greek word for truth used in John’s gospel is Alétheia, which conveys not just truth but reality. Jesus came to bear witness to the objective reality of God and His word. The most crucial point I want to emphasize tonight, the crux of my entire message, is this: Jesus is the standard. Period. But what does that mean? Many acknowledge Jesus as the standard, yet what does that entail? It means recognizing Jesus as portrayed throughout the entire Bible, as revealed in the full counsel of God’s word. Jesus, present from the beginning, who spoke the world into existence in a literal six-day creation. He is the Jesus who labels homosexuality as an abomination, who commands adherence to the Ten Commandments, who punished Egypt with famines and pestilence. He is the righteously ruthless King who will judge the living and the dead at the end of the age. When we affirm Jesus as the standard, we challenge conventional beliefs, which can stir controversy. 


Throughout the Old Testament, we witness God’s demand for holiness to restore the broken relationship with humanity caused by Adam's sin. From Noah's instructions on building the ark to the specifications for the Ark of the Covenant, God set forth standards to be met. These were not mere commands doomed to constant failure, but symbolic representations of the holiness standard God would provide through Jesus. Jesus, the ultimate Ark, embodies this perfect standard. Yet, to understand this, we must grasp that our pursuit of the standard is rooted in God’s word, materialized in Jesus. 

How do we pursue this standard? Turn with me to Psalm 1, a passage I've grown fond of. Despite not being the first psalm written, it holds significance as the opening psalm, emphasizing the dichotomy between walking in God's law and following the path of the wicked.  


Blessed is the man  

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,  

nor stands in the way of sinners,  

    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,  

    and on his law, he meditates day and night. 

 

Our obedience to God’s word drives our pursuit of the standard, simplifying our choice between objectivity and subjectivity. We must meditate on it day and night.


Subjectivism, rooted in existentialism, asserts that human consciousness creates values and meaning. This philosophy, prevalent today, challenges the inherent identity and value bestowed by God. However, subjectivism leads to chaos, constantly shifting the standard and fostering the worst kind of legalism, a moving legalism.


In contrast, pursuing the standard outlined in God’s word brings order and grace. Just as God declared His creation good, our pursuit of His standard brings goodness to the world.

 

Loving the standard entails embracing the Ten Commandments as summarized by Jesus in Mark 12: to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This objectivity is grace manifested. While art may be deemed subjective, years of straying from the standard have distorted perceptions. God created humanity in His image, affirming inherent value and dignity. Deviating from this standard, as seen in gender ideology, stems from subjectivism's influence. Understanding this enemy is crucial to combatting it. 


In Revelation, Jesus is depicted as the Lion of Judah, the worthy witness to God’s will. He is the Lamb who takes the scroll, symbolizing the inheritance of God's kingdom. Jesus's supremacy over all is celebrated, reminding us that He alone is worthy. Our pursuit of the standard culminates in Jesus, who imparts His righteousness to all who believe in Him. My hope amidst personal trials, like my mother’s passing and my sister Natalie’s present illness, lies in Jesus, the ultimate standard. 


In conclusion, our pursuit of the standard, embodied in Jesus, defines our Christian Lives. Recognizing our inability to attain this standard independently, we must clothe ourselves in God’s word and rely on Jesus's righteousness. Subjectivism will fade, and Christ's supremacy will prevail. As we embrace the standard, our world will experience transformation. 

 

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