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Lowering the Bar


When I was young I played a game with my brothers and sisters and other neighborhood kids that required the participants to jump over sticks held at various heights. These sticks would be raised with each round of the game and if you did not successfully "clear" the stick by jumping over it you'd be humiliated, muddy-kneed, and eliminated from the game. Sometimes, in an attempt to "look out" for my younger siblings I would "lower the bar" for those which were younger and less athletic than the older kids. This allowed them "to think" they were included and accepted. I suppose this is a natural human instinct which is seen in our schools when grading is done on the curve and no kid is left behind. It is far easier to lower the bar than have one suffer the shame of not being passed with his classmates.

Surely this must be a human action since God did not "lower the bar" for Cain in regard to his sacrifice (Gen. 4:4-5). God did not "lower the bar" for Noah in that the requirements for the Ark had to be met for Noah to survive the flood. God did not "lower the bar" for the other inhabitants of the earth in Noah's day in that those that did not get on the Ark perished (Gen. 7:23).   In Moses day, in the wilderness when serpents were sent to bite the people, the bar was not lowered in that all who failed to look upon the fiery serpent provided by Moses as directed by God, died (Num. 21:8-9).

We could follow the history of man and mankind's dealing with God and we will find that God never lowers the bar. Israel "lowered the bar" when it desired a king so they could be like the nations around them (1Sam. 8:4-7). They continued to not only "lower the bar" but tore it down when the prophet Jeremiah pleaded with them to return to God's ways and be faithful in Jer. 6:16 and when they responded: "We will not walk therein."

We see in the scriptures that God does not "lower the bar", so does it not stand to reason that if we try to seek redemption in any other way than that which God has prescribed that we will fail to be victorious and will not receive that which He has prepared for the faithful? If "we" attempt to "lower the bar" to make others feel included and accepted, we attempt to circumvent God's plan for redemption, and we toowill be lost for eternity.

Sadly, "lowering the bar" is evident in many congregations of the Lord's church today. We see it in congregations when they no longer carefully consider the "thus sayeth The Lord" in everything but take the "pulse" of the congregation and allow that to be the basis for their decision.

Let us be careful not to "lower the bar" when it comes to our service to God, but rather seek to know what God wants us to do according to His Word and faithfully do it to the best of our ability while here of earth. Don't be deceived. The bar may be lowered here on earth to accommodate more folks, but at the judgment, "the bar" has been set by God and WILL NOT BE LOWERED. (John 12:48)
                                                                  --Dennis Strickland --  Mooresville church of Christ

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