One. Thoughts Reveal Values
To understand how our thoughts reveal our values we need to understand the “Pygmalion Effect” sometimes referred to as the “self-fulfilling” prophecy. The Pygmalion Effect says: what you think about you become. Scripture says, “As a man thinks, so he is.”
The basic tenet behind the self-fulfilling prophecy is that values give rise to thoughts, which then are expressed in behavior. Values shape what we think. They give us a readiness to respond in a characteristic way to a stimulus. When you value something, you consider it. When you have thought about it long enough, you act.
Pastor and author, John MacArthur, Jr. reminded us, “The thoughts of our heart are the real litmus test of our character.”
Two. Words Reveal Values
The connection between words and values is shown in the words of Jesus, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil” (Matthew 12:34b, 35).
Three. Actions and Behavior Reveal Values
We are known for our behavior—fruits. “You will know them by their fruits,” Jesus says, “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles. Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18).
Integrity is when there is congruency with values and actions. But, when a Christian’s actions are at odds with what they say are their values, they are engaging in hypocrisy. The greater the conflict, the more the urgency for a change. If the behavior is too different, the individual needs to question the reality of their values. Because actions are a derivative of values, one’s actions reveal their real values.
Professed vs. True Values
Observe any differences between your professed values and your real values (the values reflected in your behavior). It may surprise you to discover that the values enacted in your life are not the values you profess.
Christians can make a marked improvement in their lives by either committing to the values they believe in or by adopting new ones. So, test the current values in your life you want to reinforce or discover new values you want to adopt.
Atop the list of Christian values—the things we esteem most— are these two.
- Worship Only God
29b Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
- Respect All People
31 “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday meditate on value one
- What do the heart, soul, mind, and strength mean to you?
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday meditate on value two
- How do you express love for your neighbor?