God’s ethical yard stick, Isaiah 33:15-16…
1. Live right–no more compromising or excuses for sin. No more sloppy living taking the grace of God for granted, saying, I’m alright because God loves me the way I am! Yes He does, but He wants so much more for us. A good life brings God’s good blessing and favor. A sloppy life brings consequences that we can’t pray our way out of. A good life honors God. A sloppy, compromised-by-sin, life gives God a bad name.
2. Speak the truth–absolute honesty before God and man. There is no good reason to live dishonestly hiding things from God or people. God knows and sees everything. And the things we think we hide from people, often, they can see anyway–we only fool ourselves.
3. Despise exploitation–don’t exploit anyone. Don’t use people as if they are a meal ticket. It shows an extremely low value for people. If we genuinely love people, the only thing we will exploit is our own strength and ability, giving everything we have to serve others; this is laying ourselves down for others.
4. Refuse bribes–just say no. Swapping favors or having people owe us favors is a very dishonest way to live. People don’t owe us anything. Give freely to all people, without conditions or expectations, and do it honestly.
5. Reject violence–first in our own heart. A violent heart is a heart that harbors hate and rebellion. If we lie, cheat, steal, gossip, are jealous, we have hate in our heart. Belittling people, mocking, manipulating, treacherous, finding amusement in things that hurt others, this reveals hate and violence in our heart.
6. Avoid evil amusements–stop sinning. It is possible. Jesus forgives all our sin, but He doesn’t want to leave us in our sin. Jesus healed a man who had been sitting by pool for years in John chapter 5. Then he told the man to stop his life of sin. If this wasn’t possible, Jesus would not have told the man to stop!
God’s promise to us is, if we raise God’s standard of living, by genuinely loving and acting rightly to all people, we will live safe and secure lives. God will satisfy our every need.
Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance, Proverbs 21:3 (MSG).
And what does He require of us? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our neighbor, Micah 6:8 (NIV).
Religion has no value if we are not honestly loving, forgiving, serving, encouraging and helping people, especially those in need, James 1:27 (NIV).