We live in a world of distorted values and priorities. We tend to highly value things that God considers secondary (or even prohibited). Sometimes we value them so much, that even "good" things become a form of idolatry. [See the Idolatry web page for more about this.] We need God's Word to show us what our priorities must be.
Acceptance of God's values will result in conflict. If we pay serious attention to what God says, and live by his values, we will soon find ourselves going contrary to the ways of the world. Unfortunately, we will also find ourselves going contrary to the ways of many who call themselves "Christian." Sometimes our greatest opponents will be people who claim to be "Christian."
However, there is a deeper kind of conflict that we may also face. We may desire to follow the ways of God - and demonstrate it by the choices we make - but there will be times in which the values themselves seem to conflict.
- This may be due to our not understanding the relationships between various values.
- These conflicts may be forced upon us by a world that has no interest in following the ways of God.
- It may also be our own fault - the consequences of previous wrong choices.
In any event, we must strive to learn and to follow the Bible's instructions on how to deal with such conflicts.
The Issue of PRIORITIES
- a look at what comes first.
A basic look at how everything we do relates to values and moral obligations; as well as an examination of how various values and obligations relate to each other. This article summarizes the issues mentioned in some of the articles found in the "VALUES CONFLICTS and CLARIFICATION" section (below).
A worksheet for looking at your "value priorities," and for reflecting on the values of the Kingdom of God. [Includes both a worksheet and teaching notes.]
The way we use our "free time" reflects our real values, a lot more than our words do. We may claim that we love God more than we love ourselves, but our actions will prove whether or not our claim is true.
God wants our lives more than he wants our money. In fact, we owe our lives to him and we are sinning if we are unwilling to give him what we owe him. (In that case, giving money is more offensive or insulting, than pleasing, to God.)
This is a missionary's reaction to the shift in values that he sees occurring among people who claim to be "Bible-believing Christians." Included are an explanation and clarification that I wrote (so that you will not misunderstand what the missionary is saying) and then his letter.
It is good (and pleasing to God) when we are willing to help those who have been sent out with the good news about Jesus. However, we need to make sure our help is appropriate! We also need to remember that the way we help reflects our character. [This humorous, yet serious, article focuses on helping missionaries (and others) in a tangible (material) way. We need to remember that we can also help in non-tangible ways, such as through prayer.]
Just a couple Scripture verses that remind us of our priorities.
- a look at some commonly misunderstood issues related to values.
We normally get told that "God is love" and that we are to love. This is true, but there are some verses which use the word "hate" - either describing God as hating someone (not just hating something), or commanding us to do so. This extensive study examines this issue, and shows how to "reconcile" obligations that appear to contradict.
This group of studies explores various issues related to how different values relate to each other. A few selected Bible verses are examined, to show how values can be prioritized. The over-all focus is similar to the "Love and Hate" article (above), but this study is more generalized and perhaps not as in-depth. (This might be a good place to start if you're not familiar with the concept.)
The idea of "hating the sin and loving the sinner" is a half-truth. Ignoring the other half of the truth often leads to a gross distortion of both truth and justice. This article looks at some of these issues.
From the Bible - examples of prayer for wisdom (i.e., to attain the values necessary for a God-honoring life)...
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, ... (Philippians 1:9-10)