What are the Values that Shape Your Pursuits in Life?
How about enjoying beautiful and abundant flourish in all your relationships?
Sounds phenomenally fantastic, right?!
Ok, I realize that in real life not all relationships may become that splendid or fruitful, because others have a mind of their own as well.
But consider . . . aren’t relationships what life is really all about?
You might wonder about that since so many people these days have their face in their phone, texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Twittering, or on any of a whole spread of social media platforms. That is definitely a different way of developing relationships than our parents, and certainly grandparents, could have ever imagined.
But think about it . . . even technological interactions are really all about relationships, right?
The basic core of who we are and the relationships we develop are defined by our beliefs and values.
Relationships, society, worldview, culture, beliefs and core values, passions and pursuits . . . they are all interrelated with each other in shaping who we are as a people. They define our identity. They govern how we go about engaging life. They determine our destiny.
A recent survey found quite a shift in American values. Early American values were seen as:
rule of law
However, the survey found that current American values now prioritize:
How do you think these various values affect relationships?
Read these lists again. Think about the underlying factor fueling this alteration over the years, directing the progression of these core values. What do you see?
It appears to me that the first list emphasizes others-oriented concerns. And the second list seems to be quite self-centered.
While this may be a general overview of American society, thankfully there are still numerous God-fearing people of our society who maintain a God and an others perspective, even sacrificially.
Regarding the wide gap between current American values and biblical worldview perspectives, George Barna commented: “Unfortunately, the survey shows that we have more than a minor gap dividing the various factions in our country. We have a canyon of epic proportions that seems to be widening each year.”
In God’s infinite wisdom, He knew that self-centered living does not lead to shalomistic relationships. In fact, it leads to destructive relations with those around us. That’s why the laws of the universe that the Creator God put in place call us to first of all, love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then secondly, to love others . . . as we love ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-39).
You may know the children’s chorus:
Jesus and others and you –
What a wonderful way to spell JOY!
Jesus and others and you
In the heart of each girl and each boy.
“J” is for Jesus, for He has first place.
“O” is for Others we meet face to face.
“Y” is for You.
And whatever you do . . .
Put yourself last, and spell JOY!
It appears this JOY-ful concept may be lost on current American culture – and likely on most cultures of our broken world!
What we are seeing unfold in US society these days seems the natural progression of self-centered pursuits. If you’re basing your values only on those purported by the American mainstream media, unfortunately, the picture is not pretty. It’s actually quite confusing! Because within our society, there are now multiple conflictive cultures in play. Listening to them, we might wonder who is qualified to assess whose values, beliefs and worldviews are ok, let alone right or wrong!
God’s wisdom again gives guidance: We are not to be squeezed into the mold of the world’s value system, but rather to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – to have the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2:1-11). That calls for getting into the Word of God to know how He thinks, His values, His worldview – God’s culture.
So ask yourself . . . are you pursuing the values of the current worldviews of society around you? Are you more concerned about fitting into the culture of your family, friends and colleagues than fitting into God’s culture?
Why is this important? Because as a floundering society, are we now engaged in a series of worldview wars? When we disregard God, His Word, and His authority, where will that lead? What will be the end-game? What will be the outcome for our society?
How do these conflictive worldviews sculpt society?
Destiny is determined by the lifestyle choices we make – choices based on our core values.
God’s ways lead to wholeness, harmony flourish – shalom.
Any other practices that are self-centered and contrary to God’s ways are sin.
And sin is destructive – in every aspect of our lives. Even private sins that we think are hidden in the closet – they too, are destructive – to ourselves as well as to all those around us. Because they cut off our relationship with God, and they cause us to be not only hurtful, but also less for others than what they need us to be.
Consider . . . in a society where multiple conflictive cultures are in play, how are the relationships within the society at large faring?
How do you see the lives of those around you? Are more and more families being strengthened – or are more weakening? Are more marriages moving into more meaningful embrace – or are more breaking up? Are siblings chumming as friends on deeper levels – or are they fighting over anything and everything? Are neighbors developing friendships or feuds?
Are these relationships improving?
God’s ways are best ways.
The Scripture says we are to pursue shalom (I Peter 3:10-11). Our God is the God of shalom (1 Thessalonians 5:23). HE is the one who brings shalom into our hearts and lives as we live according to HIS ways.
Are you pursing God – the God of shalom? Are you pursuing His shalom? Wholeness, balance, harmony, flourish – in every aspect of your lifestyle?
Since sin – every little sin – is destructive in all our relationships – always! . . . then, in order to be able to enjoy the life of flourish, sin – every little sin – has to go! And we can only overcome sin in our hearts and in our lives by allowing the grace of God full operation in every area of our lives! (2 Corinthians 5:17) When we repent of our sins, what shalom flow floods our hearts! (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) When we surrender our lives fully to Him, what power is released into our lives, and through us, out to the hurting souls in our sphere of influence! (see Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 1:8)
That is what Christ’s life, death and resurrection was all about to provide for us. To give us His grace available to break the power of sin in our hearts and lives. To transform self-centered hearts into Christ-centered, others-oriented values and pursuits.
We can only experience flourish, harmony, wholeness – shalom – as we pursue God Himself – the God of shalom. His ways are best ways, because HE is our shalom (Ephesians 2:14).
Since relationships are what life is all about . . .
With God, with ourselves, with our family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances – with everyone our life touches – each of us has a responsibility to God, to others, and to ourselves, to live in wholesome, truthful, upright, harmonious, loving ways that build flourishing relationships with all those around us.
That is God’s way of living, the way of shalom. That is what God wants for everyone.
Our pastor is currently preaching a whole series about our need for a fresh encounter with the living God. He said “We need God – God Himself! – more than we need what He can do for us . . . What we really need is a fresh encounter with the living God” (Dr. Brent Van Hook).
A transforming experience with God Himself – the God of shalom is an experience that sets us up with an empowering relationship with God and with others. A relationship with Him that shapes every other relationship in our lives – with ourselves and with others. It’s the only way to be empowered to exclude destructive sin from our lives. It’s the only way to experience flourish in all our relationships.
Who or what has your highest love, affection and adoration?
Let’s pursue the Lord God Almighty – the God of shalom!
Because His ways are best ways that lead to flourish – shalom – in all our relationships!
Find this post helpful? I’d love for you to PIN IT!