A Different Standard - August 18, 2018
James Collins

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6

My two boys, Timothy and John, are stinkers. I mean they really stink. Boys get dirty and they get smelly. Sometimes the smell gets in their clothes. Every night, when the boys get ready for bed, they will take off their clothes and drop them in the middle of their bedroom floor. Their dirty clothes will most likely rot there where they dropped them unless somebody else picks them up.

My boys are good kids. However, the area we have knocked heads over the most is about the cleanliness of their room. Last week, I walked by their room. I noticed that you couldn’t see the floor for all the toys and the dirty clothes that were scattered everywhere. I also noticed that their room smelled like feet. I yelled down to them, “Get upstairs and clean your room.” I was nice about it and I gave them the entire day to get the job done. When I got home that day, I yelled, “Alright, I am coming up there to check it. Is it clean?” Both of them yelled back, “Yes, sir. It’s clean.”

I walked into their room and I almost blew a gasket. The room still had that smell. There were piles of dirty clothes lying on the floor. It wasn’t as bad as normal, but it was still bad. There were dirty clothes everywhere. I yelled, “Boys, get up here!” Timothy and John shuffled upstairs and into the room. I said, “Look at this room and tell me what’s wrong with this picture?” Both of their jaws dropped. Both of them had their mouth open in a slack-jawed expression. My oldest son, Timothy, said, “Whhhaaatttt?????”

I have decided that when my kids are grown and the last one is out of the house, I am going to go over to each of their houses. I am going to open the refrigerator door and stand in front of it for 30 minutes. I am not going to take anything out of the refrigerator, I am just going to stand there and just look with my mouth open. I am going to walk through every room in their house and turn on all the lights. I am going to get in their pantry and eat an entire package of those vanilla Oreos. Then I am going to put the empty package back in the pantry for them to find later. I am going to take my clothes and drop them in the floor. Then I am just going to step over them like they are not even there. Finally, when my kids say, “Dad, why did you do that?” I’m going to look at them slack-jawed and say, “Whhhaaatttt?????”

Anyway, Timothy looked at me and said, “Dad, this room is clean.” I was about to have a stroke when I realized something. They had done some work in the room. There was no empty cereal bowls with crusted milk on the dresser. There was no empty candy bar wrappers scattered on the bed. There was no empty soda cans on the floor. Most of the toys had been piled back into the toy-box. I suddenly realized that in their minds, they had done some things. They had picked up some garbage and to them, the room was clean. Their standard was different than mine. What they think is okay, I call ugly. What they think is fine, I call filthy. What they think is clean, I call cluttered.

The point is: In the same way, God’s standard is different than ours. It doesn’t matter how good or how moral you think you are. The Bible says that our own righteousness is like filthy rags to God. God’s standard is different.

Have you ever had to go through the day wearing yesterday’s dirty clothes? It is not a great feeling. The Bible talks about putting away the old self and putting on the new. It’s like taking off a dirty shirt and putting on a clean one. If you are a Christian, the person you used to be is not you anymore. It is just a set of old dirty clothes.

Are you wearing the dirty clothes of yesterday? The Lord Jesus Christ has a new set of clothes for you. Put off the old self and put on the new.

James Collins is the Pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church.

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