October 17, 2018

By the time a person becomes a teenager, he or she has a distinct value set. This value-system is influenced and defined by four major forces.

  1. Experience. The conscious events that make up an individual’s life.
  2. Entourage. Ones’ parents, teachers, and peers. The ones with whom you “hang.”
  3. Education. The knowledge and development, resulting from an educational process.
  4. Environment. The background, past and present surroundings.

These four influences act as value protectors or filters regarding future sensory data you incur. Sensory data trying to change your value system faces two challenges: First, you filter or color sensory data that does not fit your value system, thus restricting the flow of information. Second, sensory input that matches your value system not only passes through the filters but is enhanced as it comes through thus creating and an illusion of even greater support for a value or values. It is what we “value” that drives our behavior, our decision making, and the acceptance or rejection of information into that process, through the four influence filters.

Because the four top influencers—the 4E’s—mold our values we need to:

  • Learn from the right experiences
  • Be open to the right educational opportunities
  • Be in the right environment
  • Associate with the right people

In creating you, God gave you the freedom to choose your values. The acceptance of a worldly value is the rejection of a godly value. The choices are mutually exclusive. God made it very clear in His Word that all of us initially choose the wrong values. “All of us like sheep have gone astray,” said the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah and, “each of us has turned to his way” (Isaiah 53:6). Though initially, we choose the wrong values, we can replace them with new ones. As the Psalmist pointed out, ‘We need to ask God to, create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within” (Psalms 51:10).

By the power of God and the miracle of the always learning mind, we continue to acquire and replace values based on the lifestyle we have chosen to live. Paul challenges his readers to appropriate God’s values “and not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).