Larry Shankle

Never Back Down From Your Standard

Life can be hard.
Making decisions can be hard.
Doing the right thing at the right time can be hard.

We live in a culture that makes it hard to be a believer in Jesus.
The predominant thinking of the day goes against all the teaching the bible has to offer.
So in a climate where people break down and families are breaking down…you and I have to make a choice.

In a cultural climate where Christianity is mocked and ridiculed, believers have to make a decision.

We can go on as usual and let the culture continue to break us down…or we can draw a line in the sand.
  • Draw a line about what we believe…
  • Draw a line about what we will do…
  • Draw a line about who we will be…
  • Draw a line about how we will lead our family…

No one can draw the line for you, you have to do it yourself. If ever there was a moment in time for you and I to rise up and say to the devil, "here’s the line, you cannot cross it," the time is now.

You’ve probably already experienced the attack of the enemy in your life. Maybe he is attacking your mind, and trying to lead you to think differently; possibly putting thoughts into your mind that you must battle against.

The devil is a master of discouragement. And often, we take a front row seat in his theater to watch and listen as he plays out the scenarios that could happen in our life.
But let me remind you, God has a plan for you.
God has a future and and a destiny for you and for your family.
Whatever the devil tells you is a lie. You don’t have to believe it or follow it.
Instead, draw a line in the sand, and tell the devil not to cross.

How do you draw a line in the sand?
What does it look like in reality?
I believe it begins with setting and keeping a standard.

Often our life is like a cosmic game of tug-o-war.
We are pulled from opposing directions.
The only real way to know if we’ve won or if we’re losing is to have a standard in place for each area of our life. Doing so allows us to know when we are close to crossing it.

The choice is simple…
Never back down from your standard.
  • Not even a little.
  • Keep your standard strong.
  • Keep your standard true.
  • Keep your standard unbroken.

Your standard, set prayerfully between God and you, is the line that tells the enemy where to stop. It is also the line that tells you where not to go.

You and I need to have a standard in place for:
  • The way we act…
  • The way we think…
  • The way we talk…

We need a standard for our:
  • Work ethic.
  • Our beliefs.
  • Our relationship with Jesus.
  • Our relationship with the world.
  • Our friendships.
  • Our family.

This all sounds very old fashioned, and I understand if you feel that way. But in the day and time we live, the fact is, standards are eroding.
People in all walks of life are no longer the same.
Those people that you knew five years ago, are often completely different today in their views, actions, and the things they allow in their life.

We can either compromise ourselves and our beliefs…or we can set a standard and refuse to cross it.

We can either continue down the same road we are on and find out where it leads us…or we can decide in advance about who we are going to be and what we are going to do.
In no place is the need for a standard greater than one very important area…your family.
  • Your family and mine needs an unbreakable standard.
  • Your family and mine needs a line that we will not cross.

The culture will press you strongest on your family.
Why? Because families are the building block of everything.

The family is the original institution that God created for learning about life and God.
It is the origin of our learning about relationships and leadership. We should learn how to be strong men and strong women because of our family, not in spite of our family.

Here’s what the Bible says about it…

Joshua 24:14 NLTse
14 "So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.

If your family is going to survive the modern climate you are forced to raise it in, these scriptures and the principles they give you must be your absolutes.

1. Fear the Lord.
To fear the Lord does not mean to literally be afraid of him. God is your heavenly Father. The bible says that "perfect love casts out all fear."
So to fear the Lord means to regard him with respect and honor. Fearing the Lord means to treat him with awe, to think of him as holy, and exalted.

2. Serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
There is no room for half-hearted efforts when it comes to your family’s stand for Jesus.
It is all or nothing.
In fact, for any believer, the mandate is simple…it is all or nothing.

This is the standard that Jesus spoke about when he said…

Luke 9:23–26 NLTse
23 Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Jesus isn’t starting some kind of cult.
What he is saying is simple.
The kind of faith and decision that really makes a change in your life is one that you cannot go back from.

It’s like "burning your bridge."
Once the path back to your previous way of life is gone, let it stay gone.
Never back down from your standard.
Serve Jesus with all your heart…or don’t serve him at all.

25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

Let’s get back to our original passage of scripture…
Joshua 24:14 NLTse
14 "So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.

The final principle we see in this verse is:
3. Serve the Lord alone.

God is saying to believers, "honoring the Lord and serving him with all your heart is not enough, you have to serve him only."
Our culture makes it seem as though anything can be our God, but this is not true for a believer in Jesus Christ.

We see the real truth as: One way, one path, one man…Jesus.
These principles have to be set as our standard.
Never back down from your standard.

As it relates back to your family, not only is this the standard that will keep your family strong, but it’s the decision you have to make.
And no one can make your decisions for you.
You have to choose to stand with Jesus Christ or not.
You have to choose to build your family on unbreakable, godly standards or not.

Joshua 24:15–18 NLTse
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."

Joshua makes the choice simple.
Our family will either serve the Lord, or we will serve other "gods."

Let me be clear: Your family and mine will not be strong and lasting without a firm decision to serve Jesus Christ according to the principles of God’s word.

I’m not saying that every non-christian family will end in divorce or problems. But I am saying, at the very least, without Christ as the center of your family, you are doomed to an eternity of separation from God.

Obviously, each person has their own choice to make.
But as the head of your family, whether the husband or the wife (because we work as a team), you must make a choice.
  • No matter your age…make the choice to serve God.
  • No matter your present situation…make the choice to serve God.
  • No matter your place in life…make the choice to serve God.
  • With your kids…make the choice that, "as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
  • With your spouse…make the choice that, "as for me and my family we will serve the Lord."

Set a godly standard for your family and never swerve or deviate from it.
Just because you see other families doing other things, it’s no reason your family has to follow suit.

You will only give an account for those people that God has placed under your care…so lead them and shepherd them as someone who will one day be graded on your leadership.
What other people do may affect you, but it cannot change who you are deep inside unless you allow it to.
Never back down from your standard.

Let me say again that, the culture will press you strongest on your family.
  • Culture is against the biblical model of family.
  • Culture is against the biblical model of morality.
  • Culture is against the biblical model of right and wrong.

It’s your job and mine to protect, guard, and watch over our family.
If we don’t pray over, guard, and defend our family…who will?
Set your standard…and don’t back down.
Set your standard…and defend it hard.
Set your standard…and fight for it.

16 The people replied, "We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods.
17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us.
18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God."

The children of Israel recognized, at least in this moment, that God was their only source of salvation.
It was he alone that had the power to bring a family out of bondage and slavery and set them free.

Just like the Israelites…we’ve been in spiritual bondage.
Sin has held us captive, but Jesus Christ sets us free.
If God has set you free from sin through Jesus shed blood and sacrifice on the cross, then he has the power to rescue your family as well.
He can make a change.
But you and I have to make a choice.
Which standard will we live by? Ours? The world’s? God’s?

You have to choose.
I encourage you to choose the Lord.
Keep choosing the Lord.
The older you get…don’t turn back from the Lord.
No matter what changes come to your family…choose the Lord.

Never back down from your standard.

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