Values and the Love of God
Picture this: It’s New Year’s Day, and you’ve set a goal to get in the gym five days a week every week for the rest of this year. The morning of day one comes, you hop out of bed, rush to the gym, and you’ve made it in and out with ease. You’re as motivated as ever and it seems like your fitness goals are right over the horizon of tomorrow.
Day two comes and you roll out of bed to make it into the gym: less enthusiastic than day one. You were a bit late but you made it today and have plans to go tomorrow.
Day three has arrived. You snoozed your alarm and didn’t make it today. Still optimistic, you set your goal to get in the gym more the rest of this year but your original plan has gone down the drain. This New Year’s resolution has failed.
Sound familiar? We all have goals, desires, and objectives we would like to accomplish. Most of these are as short-lived as our motivation to achieve them. However, there are some things in our lives that are non-negotiable. For example, it’s not a shallow desire for a mother to care for her child or for a Godly father to provide for his family. These aren’t wishes, desires, or objectives. They are values and it is impossible to operate outside of our values.
In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul is writing to the church in Philippi and is telling them his prayers for them:
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”
We need to understand what is of greater value, what really matters. We need to understand that we are branded with God’s values, by His spirit as we walk with Him.
At times, we think a goal is enough to direct our lives. It’s not; we will only live within the context of our values. We may make claims that are outside of our values like “I want to lose 100 pounds!”, and when New Year’s eve comes around, we are motivated to do so. However, when that desire fades and the motivation we had dims, we are left with what we valued. If living a healthy lifestyle is not a part of our values, we won’t follow through.
Time to Choose: Biblical or Cultural Worldview
When it comes to our values, we have to ask ourselves the question “Do I value God’s word and my relationship with him above all else?”
Here’s the truth: We will live our lives either from a biblical worldview, or a cultural one.
A biblical worldview is this: We interpret the things that are happening around us from the understanding of God’s word. We make our decisions based on what the truth of God says. Our perspectives, opinions, and decisions are based on the truth that we find in the Bible. A cultural worldview means that we interpret our lives through the lens of the culture or the world around us.
This is why Paul said in Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The world is constantly trying to shape us into its image. The world wants to push its values on us and tell us to affirm them. The world wants us to embrace and accept its values because the enemy knows we will act based on our values. Remember, we can’t operate outside of what we value.
This is why our educational system seeks to go after our children and teach them things contrary to God’s word. They want to strike the values that our children will have as adults now so that when they are older, they already hold a set of beliefs contrary to the Bible.
The only defense we have against the world is discernment, which comes from the love of God, that’s based on the word of God. The word “conformed” in Romans 12 displays this picture of pressure coming from the outside, squeezing a person to try to shape them into its own image. This is similar to a potter who is shaping and molding clay. The apostle Paul is saying here that the world is constantly trying to do this very thing; the world is constantly trying to apply pressure on us so that we would embrace these values that are against the truth of God.
The Barna Group did a study in 2021 about people who say they’re Christians. Here is some of what came of their research:
69% of adults identify themselves as Christians. Of that 69%, there are 71% that believe feelings, experience, and input from close friends and family are their most trusted resources for moral guidance. Not the Bible and not the scriptures.
In the same study, 64% believe all religious faiths are of equal value. They believe that the Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu beliefs are just as valuable as Christ. They believe that all religions lead to the same god. The truth is that those are lies. That is not what the Bible teaches.
In the same study, 52% believe that determining moral truth is decided by each individual.
They believe that there are no moral absolutes that apply to everyone all the time and that morality changes based on the situation. This is contrary to the scriptures. 68% believe premarital sex is acceptable. 54% believe same-sex marriage is acceptable and only 36% of all pastors have a biblical worldview.
Jesus said this in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
He is the way, the truth, the life. Not a way, a truth, a life. There is no other way to receive salvation except through Jesus.
We must hold to the sanctity of the scriptures and choose to view our lives through its lens.
In this hour, we cannot afford to live our lives with a cultural worldview. We can’t afford to be moved and swayed with every new passing teaching. We have the absolute truths of the scriptures to be our foundation and anchor! There is a cementing of values that comes from the love of God being at work in our lives if we choose to follow Him.
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