What Defines Our Values?

Yesterday I talked about whether or not the things which are important in our lives have their proper value in comparison to our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we start considering value, we have to define how we measure things. For instance, take baseball cards. Once upon a time baseball cards of folks like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio were just pieces of cardboard. So kids put them on their bikes so when the spokes of the wheels turned, they would cause the baseball cards to flap, making a sound the kids liked. Fast forward a few decades and those same baseball cards, in pristine condition, were worth small fortunes. What happened? Did the baseball cards suddenly turn into gold? Not hardly. They were rarer and people who collected baseball cards really, really wanted them. So their value increased because those people would pay high prices for them. Such is the case with things of the world. Values are in flux. What is trash for one person is treasure for another. But this is not true with God. God is unchanging. His values are unchanging as well. Therefore, if we want to know what has true value, we need to turn to God’s standard and reject the ever changing standards of the world.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. – Colossians 2:6-8, NASB

I know I’m quoting a set of verses which talks about the philosophy and empty deception of the traditions of men, but really, that’s what value is all about. The traditions of men determine value in this world. We traditionally want that which is rare. But beyond that, our values can change drastically. For instance, look at the latest must have toy each Christmas. And then look at the same toy being sold on clearance come spring. If we continue to try and play by the fickle rules of the world, we’ll find ourselves constantly dissatisfied. God has a better way. And that’s to walk in the way of Christ.

This is what God wants for us anyway. Paul describes it as being firmly rooted and being built up. In other words, when we choose Christ and we choose His values and what’s important to Him, we’re making the right choice. It’s the only choice that plants us firmly, regardless of what comes our way. And it’s the only choice that builds us up. So many things and ways of the world only serve to tear us down or impede us. As we continue to choose Jesus, that building process continues and our faith becomes more established in our lives. That allows us to choose Him more and more, and we get back to being built up and our faith becoming more and more established. It’s a wonderful circle. The more we trust God, we more we are built up so we can trust God more. Of course, we have to start somewhere and that’s where holy Scripture is so important. It teaches us the ways of Christ so that we know what God’s standards are. He has given us the Bible so we can know His desire for us. And when we put it all together, we have a direction that will never fail us. We have a plan that will ultimately be successful. We have a way to maximize the potential of our lives. And Paul says we should be overflowing with gratitude. Think about it for a second.

If someone came and handed us a treasure map that led to a huge bounty of buried treasure, we’d likely be overwhelmed with gratitude for the one who presented us with such a gift. Christ offers us eternal life, the love of God, and a plan for our lives that cannot fail. Is there a treasure greater than any of that? No, there is not. When we soberly consider what Christ offers, all of our “treasures” here in this world pale in comparison. The problem is we have to separate ourselves from them long enough to realize they have no eternal value. And as a result, they don’t have any real value at all. And this is where we begin to redefine our values.

Redefining our values is something we must do. From the time we’re babies we’re overwhelmed with the value system of the world. In many cases, that value system is in conflict with God’s values, which are the only permanent values. His values last forever. The values of the world change over time and will ultimately one day be the same as God’s, but only after Christ’s return. So we’ve got to decide now which path we want to go down. The wise choice is to redefine our values to match God’s. Once we redefine our values we can take stock in what we hold dear and put those things in their proper place in our lives. And then we begin to understand better how He works in our lives and why He does what He does.


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