Digging Deeper

Unearthing the surpassing riches of Christ

What priorities guide your life?

We often talk about our top priorities in life, but how do your spiritual priorities fit with all the other things you have going on?

The top priority for Christian should be godliness. It overarches all other values. The Bible says, “Train yourself for godliness … godliness is of value in every way” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). Godliness, in short, is a life centered upon God and directed by God. The godly person values his relationship with God, trusts God’s Word as the pattern for his life, and obeys God’s law.

As God has created us, every person on this planet should be godly. We were created in the “image of God” meaning we are created to live out his character in everything we do. While not everyone does this, Christians aspire to orienting their entire life around faith in God, living for his purposes in his power. Christians realize that only Jesus Christ can restore the relationship with God so that godliness is a possibility.

How do we live out that godliness? This is where “Christian values” come in, what I want to call “Christian Priorities”.

I’ve taken some time and resources to list out what “values” would look like in a Christian sense. It isn’t comprehensive in the description or in the items in the list, but it is a good set to consider. If you have feedback, I would love to hear it. Would you add anything to my list?

What are your priorities?

Consider some of the “Character Priorities” listed below. Choose some that express who you are and who you want to be, by God’s grace. The two should connect. Are you committed to obeying God in everything, no matter the consequences? While every Christian should probably put some prioritization on all these qualities, there are probably a few that are higher priorities for you than the others. They will likely be the principles that tend to be predominant when you have a difficult decision to make. Try to pick out the ones that are closest to your heart, even if you are committed to others. Write them down and commit to growing in that area.

  • Ambition. I aim to be increasingly successful in everything I do, not for my own glory but for God’s, and not for my own comfort but for the good of others.
  • Balance. My life is multi-faceted with many gifts from God. I value each of the gifts, especially my family, my church, and my vocation and give each the appropriate time they deserve.
  • Commitment. If I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it, even if it hurts me. I am willing to take appropriate commitments without fear of the promise.
  • Compassion. I think it is very important to find ways to meet the needs of people around me.
  • Church. I am called to fellowship within the church of Jesus Christ. I am called to commit to the mission of the church and the spiritual flourishing of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Courage. In matters of truth, I am willing to meet my fears head on in order to overcome them for the glory of God and good of others.
  • Creativity. I am called to be creative and to add new ideas and beauty into the world. It is important for me to find new ways to demonstrate the love and glory of God. This is how I am salt and light to the people around me.
  • Empathy. People need others to show that they understand and care. I am committed to showing these things to the people in my life.
  • Excellence. Everything I do I do to the best of my ability, realizing that God cares about quality and the quality of my work is a witness to God. I desire to provide others with the best possible outcome I can provide. I am not a clock-watcher at work, but try to do all things well and with competence.
  • Fairness. It is important for me to be fair in all my dealings and not show favoritism. Matters of social justice are important to me.
  • Faith. I live by faith in the sovereign hand of God. Salvation comes through faith alone. My daily decisions are marked by faith in what God can do, not what I can do.
  • Family. My family is critical to me and, next to God, deserves my highest priority. My home life is the first place I have to demonstrate faithfulness and Christian love.
  • Freedom. Through faith in Jesus Christ I am free to do everything God calls me to. I believe that I am most effective in honoring God when I work out of a spirit of freedom and not a spirit of slavery (Romans 8:14-17). I believe others thrive best when they are free to express themselves within the boundaries of God’s Word.
  • Friendship. It is critical that I maintain healthy and open relationships with others. I need friendship from others, and others need my friendship.
  • Global and multi-ethnic vision*. God is the God of all peoples. It is important to me that people all around the world know the gospel and its fruit and that people in my community come together to celebrate ethnic diversity.
  • Gratitude. God is the giver of every good thing (James 1:17) and nothing in my life happens by accident. It is important to me to show gratitude in all things, knowing that the events of my life and the people in my life are gifts from my Heavenly Father. I want others to know how much I appreciate them.
  • Harmony. Peace and reconciliation are very important to me. I seek to be a peacemaker, both in my own relationships and with the people I know.
  • Health. It is important for me to be personally healthy and help the people around me live healthy. We only have one life and our spirit is directly affected by our physical health.
  • Honesty. I am an honest person in all my dealings, refusing to hide important truths, but to express the truth in love so others can know exactly where they are.
  • Humble authenticity. I accept who I am and what I believe and present that consistently to others. My true self is the best gift I can give in service to God and others. Who I am and what I have done is a gift of grace from God (1 Corinthians 15:10)
  • Humor. A cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) so I attempt to raise the spirits of others by helping them laugh. We all need to take ourselves a bit less seriously.
  • Integrity. I seek always to do what is right, always to act consistently with who God has made me to be.
  • Initiative. If I see something that needs to be done, I plan to go ahead and see that it gets done. I take ownership for making things better, rather than sitting around watching and complaining.
  • Joyfulness. I believe a joyful heart is the most infectious thing I can pass on to others. Therefore I seek to find joy in eternal realities, not merely happiness in external circumstances.
  • Kindness. Love is expressed in practical actions. I try to find practical ways to show the people around me that they are important to God and me.
  • Knowledge. Transformation comes through the renewing of the mind. By learning new things I am better able to love and serve God and others. I want to share the things I learn with others so they can also benefit from what I’ve learned.
  • Leadership. I seek to be a leader by leading others into the best possible life. My focus is not in criticism but in setting a good example.
  • Loyalty. I am committed to the people around me. I would never seek my gain at another person’s expense, but seek for others around me to flourish, even when I disagree with them.
  • Love. I give up self-protection in order to put others before myself, making their good my aim in all things.
  • Openness. People today are closed off of others. They are unfamiliar with the struggles with others and often feel alone in their difficulties. It is important to me to be open with my life, believing that I have some experiences that others would benefit from hearing about.
  • Perseverance. I refuse to quit knowing that God will never give up on me. The struggles I endure as I seek God’s glory are merely obstacles that will make me stronger when I work through them. Even when I quit, I will only do so with the counsel of people I respect.
  • Radical generosity. It is better to give than receive. I receive so that I can give. My model is Jesus, who did not merely tithe but gave everything he had (2 Corinthians 8:9).
  • Respect for Others. Even though I might disagree with the beliefs and behaviors of others, they always deserve my respect. I speak well of others whether I am with them or not and help others respect others as well.
  • Responsibility. It is important for me to take responsibility within the roles God has given to me, as a believer, parent, partner, and in my vocation. I will not pass off to others the responsibility God has given to me. I seek to help others take on responsibility believing that responsibility is the primary marker of maturity.
  • Risk. I am willing to make the good of others a higher priority than my own safety, security, and comfort. I take risks to bring benefit to them.
  • Security. It is important for me to protect the interests of others around me. I am particularly concerned for the eternal security of others that they would not lose everything in the final judgment.
  • Service to Others. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:42-45; John 13). I am committed to serving the needs of others, to improve their lives, even if I receive no commendation for what I do.

Sources: “What are Christian Values?” by Matt Perman, http://whatsbestnext.com/2012/08/what-are-christian-values/, accessed 8/12/14; Loehr, James E. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. New York: Free Press, 2003, 142.

 

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October 15, 2014 - Posted by | discipleship, God, Living the Faith

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