“Stop going along with the mindless crowd… that’s no life for you… get rid of it! then take an entirely new way of life – a God – fashioned life, renewed from the inside and working out into your conduct, as God reproduces his character in you.” (Ephesians 4:17-24)
When building a house, once you have laid the foundation, you are half way to finishing.
Today we want to look at a foundation for effective living.
The foundation for effective living is ‘INTEGRITY’.
To most people the word integrity means “to be honest”. But it is far more that being honest.
Integrity = from the Latin, intero, being one with self, living by my values
It is when my conduct matches my creed, when my walk and my talk match.
So, in order for me to live according to God’s purposes for my life I need to:
“Prioritize the values that matter most, then evaluate my life and bring it into harmony with what I believe is important.”
This is the foundation for an effective life.
We don’t realize how much our values affect our life.
Values, principles, standards, morals, what we esteem important.
These control everything in our life.
My Values Affect My Stress Level
When values are unclear I get confused.
When my values are in conflict that causes a dilemma.
The apostle James says,
“Double minded man is unstable in all he does.”
We need to clarify what is important in our life and what is not important.
My Values Affect My Success in Life
Lasting success is built on values that last.
Wrong values lead me to wrong decisions, that will lead me to disaster.
e.g. If I value cheating my way through live…what will be the consequences?
My Values Affect My Salvation
Jesus said that it is possible to be very successful, financially, socially and every other way and still be spiritually bankrupt on the inside.
“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
How to Lay a Foundation of Values for Life
1. Choose the source of values
I need to decide where I’m going to get my values.
The sources of your values will determine the quality of your values.
For example – would you consider “Ugly Betty”, “The Sopranos”, a good source of values?
Is Rolling Stones a good source of values?
Where do we get our values?
The average person watches about 1000 hours of TV per year, against 104 hours of church per year.
In a lifetime of 70 years he/she would have watched 70,000 hours of TV which equals to 8 years of life.
He/she would have attended church 2 hours a week at the end of 70 years – it would be 7,280 hours which equals to 8 months.
Which medium passes more values?
So we can narrow down the sources to two main ones:
– The secular world or the word of God
– Secular culture or Christ
The Bible says:
1 John 2:15-16 (LB)
“Don’t love the world’s ways… the lust for physical pleasure, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance – these are not from God but from the world.”
This passage was written about 2,000 years ago, and yet it still speaks to us today.
The world’s values have not changed throughout history.
There are three basic values:
– Prestige, power
The number one industry in the western world is entertainment.
I read this week in the Italian news paper from Italy, (that means that this news is already all over the world) that Justin Bieber, has sold 15 million CDs, earned $60 million, and has been spending days on marijuana!
The article went on to say that he could very easily, at only 18, going for a fall out.
We spend more money on the entertainment industry than anything else.
We are a pleasure – obsessed society.
We love to show off our possessions in the western world.
We want everybody to see what we got.
We buy things we do not necessarily need.
Image, status is everything.
We want people to think we are important and successful.
A lot of the advertising appeals to these three major values.
Pleasure, possession, prestige.
‘If we buy into the world value system that the ultimate value in life is pleasure, possessions, prestige, we will miss God’s purposes for our life!’
We will end up spending all our life chasing after more pleasure, more possessions, more prestige.
We will have no time left to fulfill the reason why we were created, why we exist, in this world.
God, be merciful on us!
2. Clarify what is important
The Bible says,
Job 34:3-4 (LB)
“… we should choose to follow what is right. But first we must define what is good.”
‘Real success is when you decide what value are really important to your life, and then you bring your life in harmony with them.’
Success is the feeling we get when we live out our values.
Success is a journey, it is a progression and not an achievement.
The key is perspective!
If you want to know what matters most in life take the long look ten years from now, eternity.
Go and visit a nursing home.
Then ask yourself this question:
‘What is going to last?’
Apply this question to the world system of pleasure, possessions, prestige!
You will discover that pleasures don’t last:
“… the pleasure of sin lasts for a short time.” (Hebrews 11:25)
Possessions don’t last:
1 Timothy 6:7,
“We brought nothing into the world, and can take nothing out…”
When a millionaire dies, people ask:
“I wonder how much he left? Well I tell you “he left it all!”
Prestige will not last:
1 John 2:17,
“The world and its desires will pass away, but those who do the will of God will live forever.”
3. Change your lifestyle
That means I need to match what I value, what I give more importance in my life.
I need to bring my life in line with what I say I believe.
– Your schedule
– Your budget
– Your relationships
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things.”
Ephesians 4:17-24 (MES)
“Stop going along with the mindless crowd… that’s no life for you… get rid of it! then take an entirely new way of life – a God – fashioned life, renewed from the inside and working out into your conduct, as God reproduces his character in you.”
Philippians 4:13 (LB)
“I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”
Tragedy is that most of us never get serious about changes in our lives until it is too late.
Please don’t wait until it is too late, start building your foundation right now based on values that really matter.
4. Check your values daily
Proverbs 4:23 (LB)
“Guard your affections. They influence everything else in your life.”
Affections are the things you love and value. Things that are important to you.
1 Timothy 4:16 (LB)
“Keep a close watch on all you do and think. Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help other.”
There is a term used to describe God’s value system, it is called the kingdom of God.
God’s Value System = The Kingdom of God
This is why Jesus said,
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.’
Matthew 6:33 (AMP)
‘But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.’
Seek; go after first, what God treasures as true values to run this world.
Putting first is what worship really means!
Worship = give highest value to something.
Whatever we give the highest value to in our lives is what we truly worship.
And whatever we worship is our god.
Whatever we worship becomes the centre of our life and it will shape the purpose of our life.
Now, if I worship my house, when it crumbles, my life will crumble.
If I worship my career, it’s the most important thing in my life.
When it crumbles, my life will crumble.
That means, we better worship something, someone that can never be taken away from us.
And that is a relationship to God Almighty.
To know God.
1 Timothy 6:21 (LB)
“Some have missed the most important thing in life – they don’t know God.”
And that’s the reason we were made.
To know God, to have a relationship with him, allow him to love us, and to serve him forever.
Who do you worship?
Who, what is the most important thing in your life?
Is God the foundation of your living!
If I put God’s Kingdom first this is His value system, these are the relationships I need to treasure:
God’s Value System for Us:
1. My relationship with God, through:
– Reading & studying His Word
– Going to church
2. My relationship with my spouse.
3. My relationship with my children.
4. My work/career
5. Serving within the Church
6. My external family
7. My friends
If we follow God’s value system for our lives we will be successful and satisfied and one day inherit eternity with Him.