Think about the last sporting event you attended (or imagined, if you’re an introverted book lover like me). The sheer amount of passion wrapped up in a game never ceases to blow my mind. You can definitely tell who has a vested interest in what’s happening on the field (and who’s just there because she’s in the marching band).
Today’s topic is kind of like that—mess with someone’s core values, and you’ll quickly find out about it. Just as fans don’t bother with trying to hide their fervor when “the person scores the points,” humans are wired to hold certain ideals dear. Everyone’s core values are different, but we all have them. (Mine happen to be excellence, wisdom, justice, redemption, and beauty.)
In his book Chazown, pastor Craig Groeschel says,
“When God made you, He planted within your heart certain things you value deeply … values that, if you were to follow the path God has for you, would become the driving forces of your life. They’re the things you’d be willing to die for … Your core values will rearrange and direct your energies, your time, your thoughts. If you ignore them, sooner or later you’ll be miserable. If you identify and pursue them, you’ll unleash your potential.”
Some people are completely at home with their passions (hello, Sevens on the Enneagram!), while others are a bit uncomfortable with feeling big things in the name of a cause, or at least oblivious as to what causes they champion and what big feelings they’re supposed to be experiencing as a result. No worries. Because we’re created in the image of our Maker, and because He is the embodiment of every true and good value, we can peer into this subject and see exactly how our hearts reflect His.
As we launch into this exploration of what matters to us, it might be helpful to take a few different approaches. Grab a pencil and jot some notes as you think through the following questions. These are only a springboard, so it’s best to follow up each answer you give with “Why?”
- What gets your blood boiling?
- What characteristics do you look for in a best friend? A spouse? An employee? A boss?
- What mattered to you in your childhood? Teens? 20s? etc.
- What makes you cry?
- What kind of person do you hope you raise your kids to be?
- Which traits are included when you think about the legacy you’d like to leave one day?
- What makes you so happy you could burst?
- If money didn’t matter, how would you want to spend the rest of your life?
- What do you sacrifice for?
Once you’ve pondered those dynamics a bit, head over here and check out the list. Note any that particularly resonate with you. The idea is to identify a handful of values that matter most. (And just so you know, no one value is better than another. Unless it’s like eating 13.4 chocolate cupcakes each night in the basement. Which is creepy, and you should talk to someone about that.)
So you love truthfulness? Jesus calls Himself the way, the truth, and the life. Are you fond of risk? What greater adventure than to rescue the hearts of a brutal people bent on destruction? Is peace your cup of tea? It’s only available in the presence of the Lord. Don’t you see? God has placed eternity in our hearts, a deep longing for bits of who He is. We care because He made us with Himself in mind. When you live out of your core values, you’re showing off your Creator. “Come meet this truth-speaker, this risk-taker, this giver of peace!” your life calls.
We were never intended to be apathetic slugs. When we embrace our big passions in a healthy way, others catch a vision of something—Someone—bigger, better, more beautiful than anything this world has to offer. He uses our core values to advance the kingdom. What are yours? How does God exhibit that they’re kind of a big deal to Him, too? Kids naturally grow more and more into the likeness of their parents. Take a minute to celebrate the ways your heart reflects that of your Father.