Henry Ward Beecher once said, "Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you." After reading that quote for the first time, I thought...reach for a higher standard...sounds good, but I kept coming back to this quote reading it and pondering it. I wasn't sure why at first, but in hindsight I realize that it was the Holy Spirit who did not want me to blindly accept the lie that is contained in this quote.
I cannot possibly meet the expectations of everyone I meet in the course of a day, and that's okay. I wasn't made to do so nor were you. If you are trying to please everyone, stop because you are fighting an impossible to win battle.
If I set a standard for myself that I am to uphold, my goal is likely to be self-centered, self-indulgent and confided to my personal comfort zone. How can I say this? I know myself, and I would probably excel at medocrity, if left alone to do my own thing. The only thing that would make my goal lofty would be my own arrogance and pride, and then I would only be fooling myself. Any standard I come up with is going to be inferior to what God has planned for me.
As a child of God the only expectations that I need to meet are those of my Heavenly Father. The Bible teaches me what God expects. He sets the standard; I don't. The standard that God sets is not all about me, and it constantly pushes me outside my comfort zone so I will grow spiritually. God helps me to reach His expectations so I can become all that He has planned for me to be. When I get off track and begin to set my own standards as I may do from time to time, He will do whatever is necessary to get me back on track because He loves me too much to leave me to my own devises.
So, what does God expect from His children? To fear Him; to live according to His will; to love, serve and worship Him wholeheartedly and to obey His commands (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
Who sets the standard that you are striving for on a daily basis? Whose expectations are you trying to meet?
As a sidenote, I did some research on Henry Ward Beecher and discovered that he was a well known Congregationalist preacher in the mid to late 19th century who viewed sin as a temporary ailment and who supported Darwinism.
Don't accept everything at face value, even if it is from someone who professes to be a Christian. Test their words against God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to the Truth.