<<standard, virtues>>

The distinguishing attribute of something when measured against other things of a similar kind. The OT offerings presented to God had to be of the highest quality – nothing second-class or with a blemish was permitted (Lev 22:20; Deut 15:21, 17:1).  Jesus was called the “Lamb without blemish” reflecting this aspect of the Jewish sacrifices (1 Pet 1:19).

God desires His people, both individually and collectively to be holy, for He is (Mal 3:3; Eph 5:27; Jas 4:8; 1 Pet 1:16). There is no place for sin or even ‘second best’ in the Kingdom of God.  Is my manner of living and conduct of pure quality, in keeping with the standards of Scripture against which I am to analyse and test my actions, rather than

"Pursue righteousness, godliness..."                                                 1 Tim 6:11

judge or compare myself to others (Lam 3:40; Lk 6:41,42; Gal 6:4; Phil 1:27). Besides praying, “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and mind” we also need to be in accountability to others who can point can out the blind spots we have  (Ps 26:2, 139:23,24; Eph 4:15,25).

Just as a tree produces either good or bad fruit, what does my life produce (Mt 7:16-20)? We should nourish and develop the desirable qualities, while eliminating those which are not beneficial, especially for our spiritual life (Prov 3:7; 1 Thes 5:21). Good, wholesome, quality outcomes will last while the inferior achievements (that the world often considers precious) will be destroyed (1 Cor 3:13-15). The desirable qualities that should be evident and increasing in our lives reflect the nature of God. These come from the transformed inner self and are manifest in our outward lifestyle (Gal 5:22,23; 1 Pet 3:3,4; 2 Pet 1:5-8).  We should put our effort into developing godliness and inner character or else the foundation of our life will be vulnerable to attack and all we do will be compromised (1 Tim 6:6).

The calibre or quality of the godliness of many Christians far exceeds anything that could be achieved in any way except through close relationship with God. What is the quality of my relationship with God – do I really know Him. Many claim to know God but are not obeying His commands and will be excluded from heaven (Mt 7:21-27; Jn 15:14)? How about the other important relationships in my life – spouse, parents, children? Parents (especially fathers) need to spend quality time together with their family, enjoying their company by giving and receiving love with undivided attention to instill in the children the right concept of God the heavenly Father.

In a similar way, the time we give to God in intimate fellowship (often-termed quiet time or devotions) should also reflect that quality of being the best. This may seem like a sacrifice, yet can we give unto the Lord something that costs us nothing, when we consider what He did by giving His life for ours (2 Sam 24:24; Gal 1:4; Tit 2:14)? 

The result of being refined in the furnace of affliction where the impurities are separated from the metal is we’ll come forth as pure gold, useful to the master and prepared for good work (Job 23:10;

Do I give God my best?

Ps 66:10; Isa 48:10; 2 Tim 2:20).  Co-operate with the refining process so it achieves its desired purpose in us; pray your heart will yield to the Holy Spirit as you deal with the impurities of sin (Deut 8:2; Prov 25:4; Jer 6:27). Is there something of the old life that is tarnishing me, an area of my character that I need to exercise self-discipline in or to receive cleansing? Our faith is proved genuine (not false or flawed) as we undergo the various trials that come our way (1 Pet 1:6,7).

Timothy was instructed to “Do your best to present yourself to God as a good workman who needs not be ashamed and who correctly teaches the word of God…Avoid godless talk, turn away from wickedness and cleanse yourself and so become a holy vessel, useful to God and prepared to do any good work” (2 Tim 2:15-21). The human responsibility is humbly ask for His guidance to make right decisions and take appropriate action, then the Lord will work with us to bring about His purposes (Mk 16:20).

Jesus said to His followers, “You are the salt of the earth. Nevertheless, if it loses its saltiness [the distinctive characteristics and properties inherent in it] can it be made salty again?” (Mt 5:13). Do I have the quality of making people thirsty for Jesus? Does my life have the effect of a preservative/disinfectant on society – slowing the rate of moral decay in the sphere of my influence?

See also: best, characteristic, examine, refine, standards, test/testing, value, values, virtue.

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