February 6, 2019
“I will obey your principles, please don’t give up on me!” (Psalm 119:12 NLT)
Are there underlying, timeless spiritual values and principles that apply across the ages? Can the past speak to the present? Does the Bible, with its ancient teachings, have a word for today? For example, can a person live a life pleasing to God and still find happiness in today’s world? Can people find success and joy in contemporary times by basing their actions and speech on values, principles, ideals, and standards thousands of years old?
“Yes,” says God.
People’s values drive their conduct, whether it’s action or speech. The external is evidence of what’s on the inside. Scripture says to walk by the Spirit, a person will produce the fruit of love, peace, joy, etc. This fruit is the outward expression of God’s Nine Master Values internalized in the believer’s heart. Manifestations of love are in the love value, and the love value is in us. Our joy is in the joy value, and the joy value lives in our heart.
Unconditional Values vs. Conditional Values
When a person becomes a Christian, they want to live a life filled with love, joy, and peace. They want to be known as patient, kind and generous. They want to be faithful and live a life of gentleness. And, they want to show self-control in their everyday lives. Most times, these babes in Christ will struggle to a greater or lesser degree to walk this new walk.
The problem is that the behavior they wish to show is a situational behavior based on conditional values. People want to love those who love them and experience joy when things go their way; we view peace as the absence of conflict and patience lasts but for a season. Acts of kindness and generosity are measured and portioned while faithfulness and gentleness are restrained. Christians who have limited values struggle with self-control often losing the battle for temperance.
In Biblical times, absolute core values answered the question: “What’s worth dying for?” In contemporary times, the question may well be, “What’s worth living for?” Many people find the second question harder to answer than the first. It may help to remember that Jesus died for us that we might live for Him. To live for Jesus means that our actions and speech reflects His absolute values. The Believer’s core values must be God’s Master Values.
As a Christian spiritually matures, they move beyond the initial acquisition of God’s Master Values and attempts to eliminate the conditionality of the values. Only when God’s Master Values become our core values will we experience actual Godly behavior.
Proof that you have the value is in the value’s actualization. Compassionate acts are the external confirmation of an internal kindness value. A life of temperance shows the self-control value. A person who‘s tolerant and forbearing is an individual who has the patience value. In behavior, we see the evidence of people’s values.