The Values That Shape You
What, in this life, do you value, prize, or esteem?
Have you ever given it much thought?
Looking all around you, what has desirable characteristics or qualities?
What is of great use and service to you?
Do your values and God's match up? Why or why not?
And lastly, where exactly do you get your values?
According to the Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, value is defined as "relative worth, utility, importance; degree of excellence; something(as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable."
May God Bless His Word.
In this particular message, we would like to examine our lives in the light of God's Word and see how we stand in relation to those things on which we place so much importance.
Is our value system based on the Word of God or the world's thinking?
Who or what determines what is valuable or costly in our estimation?
In our study, may we be honest and sincere with the Holy Spirit and be willing to change our way of thinking wherever needed.
1. What Can Wrong Values Bring?
2 Chronicles 13:8 says - "And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods."
Abijah was the King of Judah, while Jeroboam was the King of Israel. The Scriptures tell us that "there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam"(2 Chronicles 13:2). "...Abijah set the battle in array" with "four hundred thousand chosen men" to Jeroboam's "eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour"(2 Chronicles 13:3).
Abijah and Judah were greatly outnumbered in the natural, but it did not matter for they had God on their side, and they were walking in accordance with His Word - "But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken Him...for we keep the charge of the LORD our God...And behold, God Himself is with us for our captain..."(2 Chronicles 13:10-12 ).
Israel placed all their advantage of success on the fact that they were a large and mighty army, never considering the fact that they were in total violation to God's Holy Laws - "And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hands of the sons of David; and ye be for a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD...and made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands?"(2 Chronicles 13:8-9).
The result of Jeroboam's rebellion toward God?
2 Chronicles 13:15, 17-18 tells us - "...God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah...so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time..."
Jeroboam placed all his value on the might of his army. That was of utmost importance to him. But what about the fact that he turned the entire nation of Israel into gross idolaters through his golden calves? Apparently, that didn't matter to him.
But it mattered to God! And it brought a swift defeat to him and his armies. God wiped out more than half of his army because his values were all in the wrong places.
2. Who Or What Shapes Your Values?
Ezra 7:10 says - "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."
Here we have an example of a great man of piety and zeal who placed such tremendous value on the "law of the LORD." He prepared, fixed, purposed, and determined with all of his heart to study God's law so that he could initially and personally be directed and managed by its Holy principles and then teach it unto others.
The Word of God was his rule. It was the foundation of his entire being, reasoning, thinking, and instruction unto others.
3. What In Your Life Is Of The Greatest Value?
Jeremiah 9:23-24 says - "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD Which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."
In Jeremiah's day, the people were "glorying" in the wrong things. Therefore, he addressed their perversion of thought.
To "glory" in a thing was to solely depend upon it as a means of happiness or success. The people of God were "glorying" in what they valued above all - their "wisdom," "might," and "riches." They considered these three items to be their only hope and joy.
But, in the time of trouble and distress, they found out the hard way that their "riches" couldn't deliver them from death; their "strength" was no match against their enemies, and their "wisdom" was utter foolishness in the face of their problems.
They realized that their only confidence in trouble was the Lord God. He and He alone was all-sufficient and the source for all of their needs.
What was most important in their lives was knowing God - "glorying" in Him, trusting Him for everything.
4. What Is One Major Result of Having Wrong Values?
Luke 9:26 says - "For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of Him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels."
Anyone who does not highly esteem Jesus above all others will prize something or someone else. Oftentimes, in rejecting the Lord as their "first love"(Revelation 2:4), God's people turn to the things of this world for satisfaction and enjoyment.
As a Christian, the "heart rejection" of Jesus many times results in a worldly spirit which devalues the things of God. Witnessing or sharing one's faith, for instance, then becomes a matter of disinterest, shame, or even disgrace.
5. What is The Result Of Having Strong Values?
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says - "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
We, as Christians, must understand that we are not our own. We have been purchased by the Blood of Jesus and, resultantly, belong to Him. Our bodies are His property and hence to be used as He directs and for His glory and honor.
These Scriptural concepts should place a strong value on our lives - our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities. We should never use or abuse our bodies in any way or manner that would be displeasing unto our Redeemer and Owner. Sin, of any nature or practice, should be shunned at all costs. Anything harmful for the body, mind, or soul should be totally rejected.
Those who highly esteem the Word of God which declares that their bodies are "the temple of the Holy Ghost" will be those Christians who are living above sin. They will have strong convictions in the midst of a generation of seemingly no morals.
6. What Can Right Values Teach You?
Philippians 1:9-11 says - "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
Having right values gives us the ability to readily and accurately discern between that which is right and wrong, good and evil, and helpful and useless in our lives.
Having right values also enlarges our view of spiritual things. We are enabled to perfectly discriminate as to the real worth of an object. We find ourselves rightly estimating what is genuine and what is false. We don't mingle in the deceitful, ambiguous, or the hypocritical. Everything is either black or white - there are no grey areas.
The "righteousness" that we receive from Jesus causes us to walk inoffensively toward others - not injuring any in relation to their property, feelings, or reputation.
7. What Does The World Think Of Your Godly Values?
John 16:20 says - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice..."
It has always been and ever will be a fact that the world's values will conflict with those of the Christian. While we are mourning over the sinful conditions of those who are walking in total rebellion toward the Lord, the world is laughing on its way to Hell.
8. What Major Effect Do Right Values Have On Your Life?
Philippians 1:20-21 says - "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Our particular values determine the overall course of our lives. They ascertain whether we live for honor, fame and ambition, learning, wealth, pleasure and amusement, or as Paul, the Apostle, boldly confessed - to glorify Jesus "whether it be by my life, or by death." They exemplify what our earnest desire and hope, sole aim, and single purpose in life is. They manifest to all what we are truly devoted to in life - ourselves or Jesus. Simply said, they determine if we are living for God or for this world and its treasures.
Doddridge made this comment on Paul's words found in Philippians 1 - "My sole aim in living is to glorify Christ. He is the supreme End of my life, and I value it only as being devoted to His honor."
In all honesty, to what extent do you value your life? Where do you derive your value? Who or what determines the worth of your existence on this earth?
As a Christian, your values should stem from the Word of God. Do they? Your life is valuable to the extent that it glorifies Christ? Does it?
Ten years from now, what kind of values will you have? Will your life make a difference in this world? Is it having a major impact now on others?
Joshua 24:15 says - "...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
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