Where is thy baseline?

I have been thinking of doing this post for a while but not really sure where to start. But might as well start somewhere.

It is about the kind of standards that we should set for ourselves as Christ followers. Take an analogy, in all sectors that have to be regulated by the government or some government agencies, there's always a set of laws and statutes that govern the regulation and set the minimum standards for the sectors. Very often, this set of standards is the very bare minimum the sectors will be allowed for in order to guarantee societal safety, personal safety, work safety and other many reasons. In some sectors, the minimum is so minimal that you sometimes wonder why regulate in the first place.

For the average Christ follower, we do not have a set of laws to regulate the kind of standards we should be having. This is true in the sense that firstly, we do not live in the OT era anymore, and secondly, the church cannot fine us for failing to meet any standards (at least that's the case in Singapore). A lot of times, our standards, therefore, remain at John 1:12, that we believe and receive God's Son, Jesus , and thus become part of God's family. It stops at there. But honestly, I refused to believe that it should stop at there and I have many reasons to believe why it should not stop at there.

Firstly, if we call ourselves a Christ follower, then the bible actually does not allow us to remain our standards at a low baseline. By baseline, before I carry on, I really mean that minimum standards that we should display in our Christian life. At low baseline, I mean stopping at John 1:12 and John 3:16. Yet, Jesus clearly outlined a higher standard than that. In Luke 9:23, a very famous verse for us, He mentioned that whoever wants to be His disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Him. Such harsh standards. A few verses later, in our NIV bible, it's subtitled 'The cost of following Jesus', He said to the people that foxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His heads. By this, I'm taking that He means that following Him will not be as comfortable as some will make it to be.

Secondly, Christ's disciples declare a higher standard than John 3:16. Take Paul for example. Acts 20:24 sums it very nicely, that he considered his life worth nothing except to run the race and complete the task that Jesus has given him, that is to testify the gospel of His grace. Apparently, he is not expecting to be comfortable and remain hidden in one comfort zone as well.

There are many more examples which I do not have time now to explore to that greater extent.

But it remains appalling to me that for us as Christ followers, we are willing to settle for something less than what God has desired for us. I am not saying that God does not want us to live comfortably, which in this case, it is a question of what is God's direction for our lives, but I am talking about the broad standards that we can find in the bible. I once talked to a sister who was saying that I cannot expect to impose the same standard on everybody assuming God is fair to everybody. I almost lashed it out on that sister but decided to restrain myself. Yet, I was really appalled that someone who is serving the Lord actively can come to me with such remarks. It is not about imposing my own standard on others, but if that standard is being stipulated in the bible and I co-opt it onto my own life, then it is really that I am encouraging people to build their life upon the standards that I have built my life upon. It is for people to be willing to be challenged to move out of their own little world and not be self-centred and not be self-contained within their worries and such.

If there is one thing that Christ followers have to know, I believe that us receiving Jesus is not the end, but the beginning. Jesus did say that we need to show the fruits of our salvation. It cannot be the case that we have received Christ (which together received His victory) and yet continue to live life the same as we have lived before. It cannot thus be logical that the only change in our life upon receiving Christ is just that the group of people we hang out with changed and we have one more item on our weekend schedule. If so, then it thus becomes a cliche when we say the old has gone and the new has come.

My point for this post is this: that we need to rethink if we are willing to settle for a low baseline? Is a high baseline for our Christian life a man-conjured one or a divinely derived one? How then should we really be living our lives?

I think Christ followers ought to give these questions serious thought.


  1. Interesting post. Well, basically there are two solutions

    1) Let the Church set the baseline
    2) Let the individual set the baseline, but nudge low "achievers" to achieve more.


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