Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. These guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong. Core values also help companies to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their goals by creating an unwavering guide.
The core values that you hold have the ability to influence the direction of your life. And whether we are aware of them or not, most of us have core values that drive our actions and decisions.
I want to share with you today what I would call a core value of mine. I have opinions about everything, but there are a few biblically based core values that really drive the way I think. The first core value I want to share is Abiding. In John chapter 15, Jesus says very clearly that ‘if we abide in him and he in us we will bear much fruit but apart from him we can do nothing”.
Prior to my salvation, I was ruled by my flesh, I thought what I would call very cultural thoughts. My opinions were formed around my experiences and things I had been told and heard. The media played a huge impact on all of that. When I gave my life to Jesus I surrendered and I said: “Okay God, your way is best. Your word is a light unto my path”.
Jim is one of the speakers at the National Disciple Making Forum in Nashville, Tennessee this October 25-26. Learn more and register here.
But that wasn’t enough. I mean it’s that’s great that the Lord told me this is how you ought to act and this is the way you ought to live but I just didn’t have the power to do it. Then when I gave my life to Jesus – the Holy Spirit came into my life. Now there was something different about me. I had been an alcoholic for years and tried to quit a variety of different times and for very good reasons but it just wasn’t enough.
When I gave my life to the Lord though, he moved in and there was something different now. I still needed to try hard, and I still had to have plans and goals and support and all that, but I’d had all that before without success. There was something that changed in my spirit, that gave me the strength to do what I knew I should do. Before this, I knew that I should do these things, but that just wasn’t enough. Now I not only knew I should do them, now God started to give me the help to do them.
I found out that if I’m going to be the man that God wants me to be, I have to spend time with him. I have to be washed in the Word as it says in Ephesians 5. I have to feed on spiritual milk and food. Jesus said that ‘man does not live by bread alone – but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” I have to live by His Word and by His commands with the strength that He provides in a relationship with Him.
So what does that look like for me personally? It means that I spend time in the Word and in prayer where it’s just me and the Lord. It also means that I have relationships with God’s people. God doesn’t just speak to me through the Word, God speaks to me through others. So part of abiding in Christ is to abide in the body of Christ. Relationship matters to me.
I need relationships that hold me accountable – that support me – that help me see things that I didn’t see before. Relationships that help me unpack Scripture in ways that I hadn’t unpacked it before. So in my personal life, I want to abide in Christ – and this means there is God’s Spirit, God’s Word and God’s people. People who really press into me. I seek that out. The Bible says a wise man seeks wise counsel. So that is a personal value of mine.
When I don’t walk in the Word, my flesh takes over. When I don’t walk in the spirit and I walk by sight, I’m trusting in my past experiences. I’m trusting in what’s worked before – I’m seeing things from a human perspective. But as I spend time with God he fills my mind with his perspective, and that changes how I live my life, as a father as a husband as a grandparent as a friend as a worker – even as a member of the United States of America. It changes everything.
This isn’t just a personal core value of mine; it is also an organizational core value for our Real Life Ministries staff and leaders. So often we get so busy doing things ‘for’ Jesus that we don’t spend time with Jesus. So this core value is something that is included in every meeting we have. We need to spend time in prayer and make sure that we’re connecting relationally and spiritually, make sure we are listening to each other and asking what is God saying.
In our All Staff meetings, we have prayer time and worship and reading the word together. We know that when we are connected here, what comes out of us organizationally as a church and as a leadership is Spirit-driven.
As we abide in Christ as the body of Christ, we start to function as the body of Christ. We connect to each other and we connect to God’s purpose. We are out there serving and ministering and representing God accurately.
When we don’t abide in Christ, we will not bear spiritual fruit. We will get what humans get – and that’s never very pretty. Not for an individual, not for a person in a marriage and not for a person in a family. But as we abide in Christ we bear much fruit. These are some of the reasons abiding is a core value for me personally, and for Real Life Ministries as a team.
Is abiding a value in your life?
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.
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