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Sunday, January 11, 2015

What Are Your Values?

 Everyone has values. A child may value his toys, a teenager his plug-ins, a woman her beauty, a man his

strength, physical or otherwise. As Christians, we are held to a higher standard than the rest of the world. Even when we are unaware, people are watching us. So what are those values, principles, teachings we should live by? I think there are three overriding principles that should guide us in living the Christian life.

1. Faith in God. The Bible says, "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11: 6). Therefore faith encompasses everything. Abraham showed faith when he followed God's command to take his son Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice him. But an angel of the Lord restrained him and provided a lamb instead for the sacrifice. And God deemed him righteous because of his faith. Throughout the Bible there are stories of men and women who displayed great faith. In speaking of these men and women, the writer of Hebrews says, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions" (11: 33).

2. Love. As we grow in Christ, we should pray that we learn to love others as He loved. In the sermon on the mount Jesus told His listeners, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5: 43 - 44). 

The apostle Paul explains it this way: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" (1 Corinthians 13: 1 - 6). 
 Love encompasses everything.

3. Righteousness . Man is by nature unrighteous, corrupted by sin, but through God's love we are made righteous through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5: 20). The Pharisees were self-righteous; they obeyed the law rather than following the teachings of Christ. They were haughty, proud and boastful, believing that their works would get them into heaven. But Ephesians 2: 8 tells us, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- "  

A new year is as good a time as any to reexamine our values. What are yours? Do you value things more than you value people, or the One who created all things? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you reevaluate yourself this year and show you the areas where you are lacking. Then surrender those areas to Him and watch Him make the necessary changes in you.  God bless.
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