In this broken world of chaos, we often face storms in our lives. Jesus said these storms would come. He also said that if we would put into practice His words, our lives would stand strong in the midst of these storms (see Weathering the Storm, pt 1).
Life Coach Scott Jeffery said, “Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.”
Our core values help us know how to prioritize during a storm. My brother Tim and his family recently weathered hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. They prepared for the storm as it approached. He evacuated his family and the high dollar animals. He prepared their house and barn for the high winds and rain. He equipped himself for loss of electricity.
His actions reveal his priorities: 1). Family; 2). Income producing animals; and 3). Property. These core values determined his behavior. They gave him a guide on what to do in light of the storm.
In Luke 11, Jesus challenges the religious rules and humans traditions of the Pharisees. When they were complaining because Jesus broke their rules about ceremonial hand washings before eating, He told them it is not what enters your mouth that makes you unclean but what comes out of it. Why? because we speak out of the overflow of our hearts. And what we say reveals whether our heart is clean or not.
Our core values fill our hearts.
What is in your heart? What comes out of your heart reveals what you value. Let me share a little exercise to help you discover what you value. Write down the answers to the following two questions:
- What 3 or 4 Hills Would You Die on? Think about this for a second. Seriously consider what things would you fight for. Let me give you some examples: I wouldn’t lie for my boss; I wouldn’t take a promotion if it meant I had to travel more than X# of days a year; I would die protecting my children; etc.
- What Is at the Center of Each of Your Hills? Mine through each idea and find what is at its core. The ideas of Truth; Family; and Children are at the center of the examples I gave above.
Can we take this a little deeper? Knowing your core values is good, but do they match what Jesus teaches. Remember He said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on the rock.”
How do we move from our current core values to match Jesus’ teaching? How can this transformation take place? First, let me say this is not a quick process. It takes time. You have to commit to this change. All transformation comes when we make a volitional choice. The Bible calls this Repentance. Repenting is changing “your” way of thinking to match how Jesus’ thinks (see Romans 12:2-3).
To experience the transformation of your core values to match Jesus’ teaching, we encourage the following process:
- Engage the Gospels at least four times a week. Read short sections from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John using the HEAD | HEART | HANDS study method. Here is how it works. Read a passage from the Gospels and ask:
a. HEAD – What does it mean? What does the passage teach?
b. HEART – What grabs me? Where does this hit my life?
c. HANDS – What am I going to do about it? What actions are required of me?
- Discern God’s unique calling on your life. Your unique calling is what God has prepared in advance for you to do and you for. Here is a simple but effective way to discover your unique calling:
a. What are your natural skills? What are you naturally good at?
b. What are your personal experiences? What experiences have equipped you to serve others?
c. What are you passionate about? What issues scream to you, “Someone has to do something, NOW!”?
d. What is your personality? Are you people or task oriented? Do you gravitate towards action or thinking?
e. What are your spiritual gifts? How has God supernaturally gifted you to serve in His kingdom to build up His body?
- Prayerfully, wordsmith your core values. There are several common values that are shared by all those who follow Jesus, but what unique values drive the unique calling of God on your life? It is important to know these values.
a. Be creative/fun
b. Use action words/phrases
c. Make them rich and meaningful to you
Just for fun, let me share with you my wife Beth and my core values for our marriage:
- We Walk in Step with the Holy Spirit – we are committed to seeking and following the will of God
- We Walk Together – we are committed to working through the messiness of relaiotnships
- We Walk in Love – we are committed to let the love of God flow in us and through us
- We Walk in the Light – we have a relentless commitment to the truth
These values drive our behavior. They guide us as we navigate the turbulent waters of a storm!
Here is a little extra – the core values that drive the behavior of Discover Point, our church plant: A PASSION FOR PEOPLE – we have an urgency for the lost; “For God so loved the world; we love because God first loved us” (John 3:16 & 1 John 4:19). AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS – we work through the messiness of relationships; “We have spoken freely to you…and opened wide our hearts to you. As a fair exchange…open wide your hearts also” (2 Corinthians 6:11-12). ACCOUNTABLE GRACE – “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity…Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-21). TRANSPARENT LEADERSHIP – “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God which He bought with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).