If offered the choice between a box containing plastic jewelry and a box filled with gold jewelry studded with diamonds and pearls wouldn’t you automatically choose the real jewelry? You know that gold and natural pearls are intrinsically more valuable than plastic. Gold is the value standard of jewelry.
Ethical values are standards that are so important to you that they define how you spend your life. When a standard forms a foundational value, to compromise with that standard will cause intense internal conflict. You must then choose to change your actions or change your values.
For many people spiritual, emotional and mental plastic is valued more than spiritual gold.
Jesus told a parable that the Kingdom of God is like a man who discovered a pearl of great price and sold everything he had in order to purchase it. What are the standards in your life? What principles do you value so much that to compromise would mean to change who you are? What cost are you willing to pay for the pearl of great price?
Points to Build on
1. Make a list of what you value most in life.
2. The apostle Paul lists the qualities of character based on Godly values in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
American King James Version×. Evaluate how you exhibit each of these traits in your life and what you can do to further develop the qualities of God’s love in your character.
Not parading self
Doesn’t behave rudely
Doesn’t seek to force others
Is not provoked
Doesn’t think evil thoughts
Doesn’t rejoice in iniquity
Rejoices in the truth
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things
When you value God’s ways you will experience major changes in how you live.
1. You begin to seek God’s purposes and goals in your life. All too often we approach God as if He is our “errand boy” who is supposed to fulfill all of our desires and goals. Every morning ask God to fulfill His desires and goals in your life.
When you seek His future you in turn accept His direction to that future. This may be the most difficult thing for human beings to do. All of us want to be masters of our own fate. We want to control our immediate environment and everyone else around us so we can feel secure and happy. The foundation of faith is to give up control of your life to God as a loving Father. You can give up the need to control only if you trust in God’s promised future and His involvement in your life now.
2. You begin to change your priorities. How do you spend your time? Time is the great gift God has given to each of us. When we allow God to set our priorities, the drive for money and things is replaced with a drive to produce Christ like spiritual character. The need for status is replaced with the need to love others. The search for self-determination is replaced with seeking God’s determination for your life. The desire for constant entertainment and immediate gratification is replaced with a peaceful understanding of what is really valuable in life—family, how we treat others and worshipping God in a way that is pleasing to Him.
3. You begin to have a change in how you spend your mental and emotional energy. We waste so much of our lives in resentment, selfishness, envy and other destructive thoughts and emotions. God wants to produce in your life: “love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×). This can only happen when you acknowledge that you need God’s rule in your life and accept your absoluteinability to satisfy your spiritual hunger by your own means.
4. You begin to want to obey God’s commandments. You must accept the right of the Creator of life to have dominion over His creation. Just as there are physical laws like gravity that govern the universe, there are spiritual laws that govern your relationship with God and your relationships with others.
Solomon wrote, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” (Proverbs 16:16 Proverbs 16:16How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
American King James Version×).