Whether you are the type of person who seeks to get all your
needs met by another person and therefore feel accepted and
valued, or you are the one who strives to meet all the needs
of another person and therefore earn acceptance and value,
the end result is the same; you become tired and worn
out, exhausted in your own efforts to control people so
they conform to your standards in order for your needs to be
met or tired and worn out from trying to meet the needs of
the other. You may feel inadequate, unacceptable, without
struggled daily in this area because I believed I was only
acceptable and valuable if I met the total needs and
standards of the people I sought acceptance from. Each time
I failed to please a significant person in my life, I
felt like a failure, a loser, a mistake, inadequate,
worthless. I was totally devastated and I tried all the
harder to please the other and to meet all their needs. When
I thought I had it all figured out and I thought I was
performing well, the standards would change unexpectedly and
I would discover that I had not done what was expected of
me. I was expected to be a mind reader and to know what the
unstated standards are. I lived in constant fear of
making mistakes because any error on my part resulted in
anger from the person I sought acceptance from. To me, their
anger equaled rejection, an indictment that I was unworthy
and unacceptable. I grew tired of performing and often
prayed that God would just go ahead and take me to be with
Him because I was unable to meet the needs of those I loved
the most. I believed I was a miserable failure!
see the different lists of expectations here? On the one
hand is a person with a list of standards which focus on the
things another person will do in order to meet their needs.
On the other hand is a person whose list of standards focus
on their own behaviors in order to meet the needs of the
other and thus to receive acceptance from the other. In both
cases, each person is seeking his or her value from another
person. In both cases, each person uses a variety of
methods to control the situation and the other person so
that their own needs are met. In both cases, neither person
considers what God's standard is or, at worst, they have
rejected God's standards for acceptance.
is the source of all these different lists of standards?
Let's turn to Genesis 2:25 and read through 3:10. (Read the
scripture straight from the Bible).
Although God had already said their nakedness was
acceptable, Adam and Eve had their own list of
standards. Using their own list, they judged their nakedness
as unacceptable and then they tried to fix God's oversight
by sewing fig leaves together to cover themselves. However,
they felt shame when they used their standards to determine
their acceptance to God (they hid from His presence). God
had already said their nakedness was very good, but they
made a judgment using their own list of standards.
Unfortunately, we have inherited the sin nature of Adam and
we also make our list of expectations of what is acceptable
and what is not acceptable.
long ago, the Lord revealed to me that my emotional and
spiritual distress was not the result of the real rejection
I was receiving from the significant people in my life.
Rather, the distress was the result of my sin. Just as Adam
and Eve had become gods unto themselves, I too had become a
god unto myself. And I was guilty of having other gods
before the one true God, Jesus Christ. I was seeking my
value from what others said about me. Not only that, I
was guilty of playing god for other people, trying to
meet their needs and attempting to control life situations.
I was guilty of breaking the first commandment. Exodus 20:3
says: "You shall have no other gods before me." The Holy
Spirit convicted me of spiritual idolatry or spiritual
adultery; both terms mean the same thing. Spiritual idolatry
is the attempt to get your needs met from human sources
rather than God, who is the only Source. Although at first
this rebuke from the Lord stung me to the core of my very
being, I thought I loved Him completely, I had to agree with
Him. As long as I was seeking my value from human sources, I
did not love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all
my soul and with all my strength. I confessed my sin and I
repented of this sin. God then gently brought me into a
much closer relationship with Him. This is what I have
of standards we put on ourselves and others are heavy yokes
of burden. Jesus calls us saying, "Come to me, all you
who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For
my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
yoke is grace. God's word tells us what he requires. It
tells us who we are. His list never changes. Jesus is the
same yesterday, today, and forever. We must seek our value
and needs from God. He is our only source. He alone can meet
our needs. Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of
life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who
believes in me shall never thirst... the one who comes to me
I will by no means cast out." Jesus is saying here He will
meet all our needs and he will not refuse us when we believe
in Him. This frees us up to extend grace to all. He alone
decides what is right and wrong. He alone is the judge. We
are to walk in grace, for ourselves and for others. We don't
need to perform for God. He created us. He knows us. He died
for us while we were still sinners. He's waiting for us with
outstretched arms. He has proclaimed we are valuable not
because of anything we have done or haven't done, but
because He says it is so. Jesus died for us not just for the
salvation of our souls but also to give us freedom to live
according to His plans and purposes for our life.
walk according to our sinful nature and commit spiritual
adultery, either in the role of a god or expecting another
person to be our god, we will not have the peace that Christ
has promised. Instead we will have strife, envy, division,
malice, and hatred. James 4 asks: Where do conflicts and
disputes come from? You want something and do not have it
(you want your standards to be met but they are not being
met) and so you commit murder.
something in your life you need to repent of? Jesus said a
tree is known by the fruit it produces. (Luke 6:44)
Examine the fruit in your most significant relationships
you get angry if they don't do what you want them to do?
you try to change or fix the other person?
you blame? "If you didn't do such and such I wouldn't be
unhappy." "You make me feel this way!"
you have a list of things they must do for you in order
for you to feel accepted?
you sulk and shut off communication with the person who
doesn't live up to your expectation?
you challenge: If you really loved me, you wouldn't do
or you would do?
you shame the person? "I can't believe you did that!
What's wrong with you?" Weren't you thinking about me?
What will other people think?"
you try to fix yourself (to fix the other?) "If I get
myself straightened out then He/she will change."
you compromise yourself to be accepted?
you spend more time examining the faults and
shortcomings of the other?
you use the Bible to drive a person to change?
you check to see how well they are following the
Scriptures? (compared to you?) Do you exert pressure to
get them to obey the scriptures they "ought" to be
as Christian spouses, parents, fellow believers is not to
drive each other to perform well- our job is to learn
God's plan and to apply it personally.
or woman is powerful enough to provide life and value to
another. We weren't created by God to "fix" other people
according to our own standards. Jesus was given to provide
life and value to each one of us and God alone determines
once gave me a vision of a little girl riding along in the
back seat of a car. She totally trusted her father to
drive safely as they traveled through the very busy city
streets. She was so filled with trust for her father that
she was oblivious to the traffic. In the same way, God has
called me to fully trust in Him (his standards) and not
worry about the performance of anyone else.
still struggle with spiritual idolatry. The reason why
this is such a fight is because we have a Source we cannot
see. Right now we live among people and are surrounded by
things we can see. Therefore, it is a fight to keep drawing
our sense of value and acceptance from this unseen Source.
And all the while, most of what we see and hear demands that
we measure up to someone's external standard in order to be
acceptable. In this fight we will sometimes experience hurt
feelings because of the words spoken about us, false
accusations, the demands for performance, or the actions of
others. And sometimes we will not know how to appropriately
seems to be such a fine line between a healthy expression of
love and becoming someone else's god. Therefore, it is
important to surround ourselves with grace-full people who
will point us toward God's grace, not toward our performance
or how things look or what people think. And it is
important that we extend grace to others instead of
expecting them to conform to our list of standards. God must
be the only source of standards. We will do well to remember
what Gal. 5:1 says: "It is for freedom that Christ has set
us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be
burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (to standards other
Christians, God is our Source. He is our need-meeter,
our vindicator, our defender, the one who has the last word
on our value and acceptance. We are not valuable and
acceptable to God because of how much money we make, the
clothes we wear, the group we hang with, our church
attendance, or because we have been faithful in our giving.
Other people can think whatever they want - and they will.
What they say might feel hurtful sometimes - but they do not
decide the truth about us, God does. Jesus alone is the Way,
the Truth, and the Life.
is a song we will be singing soon that puts this total
message in a nutshell.
all is said and done, there is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for truth; did I live my life for
You? Lord your mercy is so great, that you look beyond our
weakness. And find purest gold in miry clay, making sinners
Let us pray.
Jesus, thank you for loving us enough to die on the cross
for our sins. We are grateful that there is now no
condemnation to any of us because we are in You. Forgive us
for making our own lists of standards. Cleanse us from
spiritual idolatry. Because every believer's sin has been
forgiven and cleansed by your blood we ask you to keep us
from judging another person according to our own standards
and expectations. Your love for us is unconditional and
everlasting. We open our heart and life to your love; flow
that love through us so that we too can give unconditional
love to all you bring into our lives.
everything about us and yet you have accepted us just as we
are in the beloved. You made each of us unique and special
to fulfill your plan. Thank you for our bodies, our
abilities, our parents and spouses which you designed as a
part of your perfect plan. Thank you for how you have
uniquely created each of your children. Cause us to accept
your children and to not place on them our own list of
expectations (standards). Thank you for the Holy Spirit who
lives within us to empower us to obey you in this.
You meet all
our needs and we do not need any other source to fill our
needs. You have given us all spiritual blessings in Christ.
Thank you that you are perfecting in each of us your plan.
Thank you for not giving to any of us the overwhelming task
of perfecting another person according to our own personal
list of standards.
good it is to be your child. That makes us your
responsibility. You are faithful even when we are not. Even
now you are changing us bit by bit into your image. Please
help us to give ourselves completely to you, to love you
with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our
strength. And to love others as you have loved us.
honor and glory to you, Lord God almighty. Amen.