Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where Should I Find My Values?

Chuckle - A Child's Prayer: "Dear God, I don't think anybody could be a better God. Well I just want you to know but I am not just saying that because you are God." Charles

Good Quote: “Our value system must conform to His. Our actions must conform to our values.” --L. Tom Perry


"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever" (I John 2:15-17 NIV).

Our values come from one of two places, the secular world or God's Word! They are based on the culture in which we live or Jesus Christ. In our world, three things are seen as most important: If they are the most important to you, sadly, you'll never win at life.

1. Pleasure. Our culture is mesmerized by pleasure. "If it feels good, do it." The emphasis is on instant gratification. "If you want it, get it -- and get it now, whether you can afford it or not. Do it even if the Bible says it's wrong." The number one industry in America today is entertainment -- pleasure. Jesus said in Luke 8:14 in the Phillips translation: "By the pleasure of living, the life is choked out of them and they produce nothing." There's a place for healthy entertainment and pleasure, but only when they are kept in perspective with God's priorities.

2. Possessions. Many are consumed with desire for possessions. "The one with the most toys, wins!" With all this emphasis on possessions, I've never seen a hearse pulling a trailer loaded with things? Someone has said, "In America, people seem to believe in life, liberty, and the purchase of happiness." But we all know happiness can't be bought. Some believe their self-worth is determined by their net-worth. God says, WRONG! Valuables without values from God's Word won't give your life purpose or meaning. Jesus warned in Luke 12:15, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." If we depend on possessions for happiness and fulfillment, there will never be enough.

3. Prestige/popularity/power. Often, a craving for status has much more to do with image, than character. Politicians "spin" everything to enhance their image. We pay for a certain label in our clothes for image/status, and say by our actions, "Look at me -- I can afford this!" Where we live, what we drive, and what we wear are good indications of our values. Someone said, "The human race starting going downhill when we invented the mirror." Oh, how true! We turned from valuing character to valuing image. I John 2:15 gives some sound guidance: "Do not love the world or anything in the world . . . . they come not from the Father but from the world." Our young people are being bombarded by a hellish kind of pull toward the world's values, and, sadly, many parents are setting the worldly example for them.

So, where do we look for our values as Christians? The answer is obvious, but the will is often missing. If our priorities are to change, the "want to" must come before the "how to." Understanding how God would have you change your values will only bring stress and unhappiness into your life until you allow God to change your heart and thus your "want to." We are often more concerned about what others will think of us and say about us than pleasing the One who loves us and gave Himself for us. The alarming thing about all this is the subtlety with which Satan leads us down this path of contradicting values. A little compromise here; a little acceptance of the world's standards there; and the first thing you know the world's values have become your own.

Love, Jerry & Dotse