Core Values for Life: Rails To Run On for Every Follower of Christ

Sometimes a job seems to big. And you don’t even know where to start.   Ever been there? A while back we purchased a dresser. We’ve looked online and shopped a few ads, and ended up going to the furniture superstore, IKEA. We found a suitable dresser, the price was right, and we loaded up 2 boxes that would need to be assembled later. This should have been a clue!  We got it home and began to unbox the first crate of items and I read there were over 801 pieces. 801 pieces! My mind about exploded. As I looked at all the elements, it was almost as if I was on the TV show Punked. This couldn’t be right. This job seemed over the top, so I did what any sane person would do… I put it off.

Come on, don’t tell me you’ve never done that before. Luckily, my wife rocks, and when I came home from work the next day, she had completed the 6 hour assembly with 5, I’m sure very helpful, little assistants otherwise known as the Williams 5.  It seems we approach the great commission in this same way. We look at the immensity of the task and go do other things, or simply don’t do anything because we don’t know where to start.   As we look at the world in chaos, its more clear than ever before, the only hope is Jesus Christ.  I want to lay out some steps that make the monster of global evangelism much smaller and manageable. And as we take each step we are gaining ground on fulfilling the great commission. And with each step is one more heart changed by the Spirit of God.
 
Jesus must have first place in every area of our lives. How practical is this truth? Let’s say you are at Best Buy, you see an item you would really like and it costs a few hundred dollars. You know some people actually make a decision like that in a very impulsive manner based on how they feel at the moment. We’ve all been there. The wiser way, would be to think through how it fits into your financial plan. Or let’s say, you were offered a promotion at work. It’s going to take more time, more travel, maybe even a relocation. How do you make this decision? Some say, it’s based on the money. That’s part of it, but you have to go deeper. How will it affect your family? How will it affect your walk with Christ?  That’s why we need core values. To help us make decisions. Now notice, do you see it? Paul helped us think in a priority oriented fashion in this passage. The crux of it is in Colossians 1:18:
 
“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
 
There is the ultimate core value, that Jesus Himself might come to have first place in every area of our lives. Now what are some of those key areas in our personal lives in which Jesus ought to have first place? What are some of the balls related to who you are as an individual that you simply have to keep in the air simultaneously? Let’s think about it from the Word. 
 
  • One is of course, growing in your relationship with Christ.   He must have first place in every area of your life.
 
You see what if that item you were wanting to buy at Best Buy was going to take away your desire and interest in prayer? What if the item you really wanted was going to take time away from your devotional life? Have you ever asked that question before a purchase? Looking back, that’s my new answer as to why I didn’t put the dresser together!  Before I buy that hunk of junk down at the local Trash and Treasure store that I really can’t afford anyway, is this possibly going to negatively hinder my relationship with Christ. And if it is, I am going to run out of the store as fast as possible, because one of my core values is my walk with Jesus. Did you ever think about that while shopping? I think we should, because material things can rob you of what should be your core priority. 
 
“And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the man who hears the Word and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word and in it becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 
 
Do you feel like that? Your junk is choking the Word because you had your priorities out of balance. It chokes the Word and it becomes unfruitful. Or the purchase might be something that can be used to assist you in growing in Christ. I know Kate uses an Erin Condren planner to study God’s Word, to keep her prayer lists, to stay on track with things. So in this, her purchase was in keeping in line with this core value.   Now what else does the book of Colossians emphasize? Remember, it can’t be just one. You have to focus on several areas at once. And so what are the other Core values. Well, pleasing God and your family. Look over at chapter 3:18 helps us understand the second core value. 
 
  • We must work at building a family that honors Christ. 
 
I believe in an economy of words God has just given us a core value for having a family that honors Him. And, by the way, if you are a wife and you say, “I don’t like that verse, remember the first point and that goes for husbands as well. You say, I don’t want to love my wife sacrificially, I want her to love me that way, well, remember point 1. And if you are a young person, and you say, I am not obeying my parents. That will not be my core value, my priority, see point 1. It’s all about Jesus, not you. Let me tell you, I preach this to myself all the time, and man has it prevented me from doing some stupid stuff. I really believe this. The older I get the more I believe that if families would follow these simple principles as a priority, that God would help you build a family that can honor Him and ultimately bring joy to you. 
For all sorts of biblical reasons, this has to be, it must be a core value. My relationship with Christ and growing in my family and that supersedes work. That supersedes church. God’s first institution on earth was the family which is why this is the area that is especially under attack in our culture. 
 
  • We must cultivate a joyful attitude about serving in the church. 
 
Now remember, this book was written to a local church:
 
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints.
 
That is the context in which this phrase, Christ having first place in everything, is uttered. The last chapter. What are the book ends? Well, the very last chapter is filled with all sorts of garden variety local church instructions, because so much of their lives were wrapped up in proclaiming the name of Christ through ministries of their church. 
So God wanted them to be people who had as core values an intentional cultivation of their walk with Christ, a cultivation of building strong families, and a cultivation of a joyful attitude about serving in their church. You have got to keep them all. You have got to be growing simultaneously. 
By the way if you say, Well, I’m not sure I am buying that.” Well, one of the haunting statements in this book is at the end. Paul says,
“When this letter is read among you,” to the Colossians, “Send it down the road and have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans.”
 
That is not the last time the church at Laodicea is going to be mentioned. Why? Because Laodicea is one of the 7 churches that Jesus speaks to in the book of Revelation about the fact that they are lukewarm. And what does Jesus say about people that are lukewarm, who didn’t make the issue of knowing Him and developing biblical families and serving joyfully in the church a priority? What did Jesus say about people that failed to live out biblical principles? Let’s hear it from Him. 
 
“So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth”. Revelation 3:16
 
Pastor Chris Williams
Pastor Chris is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church

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