June 4, 2012
Our core values and convictions are those principles which form the very foundation which guide every area of our life.
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They are the daily practices that guide us in everything we do. Core values will interpret how we go about accomplishing our life's mission. In an ever-changing world, if our core values can't remain constant, we can potentially be shifted by every wind, doctrine or constituency that comes along. While in a meeting, I heard Bishop David Copeland give instruction that caused me to reflect. He said: "Your constituency can't be allowed to grow greater in importance than your convictions". The bible admonishes us: "Beware when everybody approves of you." (Luke 6:26)
Romans 12: 2 tells us: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Your mind has no reason or cause to be renewed, when you can't identify or commit to your fundamental beliefs. During challenging times, it is essential to clarify "what you believe" and "why you believe it." Rick Godwin once said: "You can't be deceived, if you know you are deceived." We must always seek truth, or endure the great risk of living lies.
Jesus said: "I come that you might have life; and have it more abundantly." When we defy the core values that lead us to the abundant life, we must buy into a process that encourages us to embrace and master dysfunction; rather than change it. Once dysfunction is mastered; it can appear both normal and acceptable. If we are not careful, cultural norms that can develop over time, begin to undermine our ability to live congruent with our God-given belief system. Dr. Claudette Copeland says: "the most important area of focus for our life is to maintain integrity in our relationship with God."
When you continually adapt to compromised values, your belief system no longer holds importance or purpose. The process of compromise will eventually erode you to a place of confusion, which ultimately leads to a "lack of peace" in your life. . Pastor Phillip Fortenberry says: "The compromising of core values always begins with a relationship betrayal. The compromise begins with man betraying God, then justifying his actions, there are no other options."
Every choice we make; good or bad has some kind of compensation. Today's decision will create tomorrow's future. While you can't stop the reaping; you can always change the sowing! We must be able to take a stand on a foundation that secures our core beliefs. While working with a youth focus group alongside Harvard student, Christopher Gordon, I recall this young man saying: "Every decision should answer the question: Is this God's plan for my life?"
In clarifying our stand; perhaps we must be quick with answers to the following questions:
- Who defines who I am?
- What does it mean to believe in a Sovereign God?
- What doctrine guides my spirituality?
- What core values should determine how I make decisions?
- How am I rewarded for holding fast to what I believe?
- What core values guide my relationships?
- What should I believe when others don't believe like me?
- How should I guide my life when the world system disagrees with my core values?
It is obvious that we are living in a changing world, the question is not; do you believe in a certain kind of change? The question is: What kind of change leads to the God-given promise of abundant life? Or how do we live as Max Lucado describes: "Living a life of purpose means making a big deal about God." What you believe will determine what you do! Growing up, I remember my grandmother saying: "You either stand for something; or you will fall for anything!"
God reminds us in changing times; He is the same, yesterday, today and forever more! The most important element in all of our changing; is remembering....God and His promises remain the same!
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