I’ve been away for a few weeks. Busy, distracted, lazy, and after you read this, I suppose you’ll figure I’m finding value in my life elsewhere. Sadly, this is true, although I know it shouldn’t be.
How often we find value in things outside of what we KNOW we are supposed to be doing! I know I should be writing every day and posting on this blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I know I should be diving into the Word every morning, but I often don’t. I know I need to spend time in prayer, meditation, and listening to God, but I often don’t. I know I should be serving others in many, many ways, and I often don’t. I know I should exercise, but I rarely do. I know I should go to bed earlier, but I often stay up late. I know I should not snack in the evenings or at night, but I often find myself doing just that. I know I should respond differently to my children at times, and I often fail them. The list goes on and on and on and on, and here is what I have come to realize…
Ultimately, I do what I want to do. Ultimately, I gravitate toward what I truly place value on.
Sigmund Freud came up with a theory called “The Pleasure Principle,” and in this theory, he stated that people naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain. I have seen this play out in my own life, but spiritually speaking, I have come up with a new theory. I call it “The Value Principle.”
Here is what I mean…
Take someone whose current financial situation isn’t great. Income lower than it used to be, bills higher than they’ve ever been, monthly budget way out of whack, debt out the ears, falling behind on rent, car payments, and barely making ends meet. This type of financial environment is currently running rampant in our country. But, you know what, the people who are in this situation or complain about having no money, they often find the means to do the things they want to do. The latest movie out…they see it. The newest restaurant to hit the scene…they try it. The latest fashion trend…they wear it.
And, why? Because ultimately, they value the new movie, the new restaurant, and the new clothing more than they do paying down their debt or moving forward in their situation. They may say they want to save money, they may say they want to conserve, and they may say they want to pay off their debt, but, the truth is…they don’t do the things necessary to even begin to do that. So, what’s the reality? The reality is they value the movie more than debt freedom; they value the exciting dining experience over financial relief.
Now, this is not a judgmental indictment of any particular person, group of people, or anybody specific. We ALL do this in our own ways, in our own “valuable” areas of life.
For example, I say I value my wife, but I often treat her in ways that are degrading, mean, and not loving. If I truly valued her, I would be different, I would act differently, and I would show her my love differently, even when she wasn’t present. The truth is…in all of those moments, I value ME more than I value HER. I can say all day that I value her, but if I did, I would BE DIFFERENT.
Just like the guy who says he wants to pay off his bills won’t go to the latest movie if he really wants debt relief, if I want to be what God tells me to be in my marriage, I would “love my wife like Christ loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:25). If not, I’m valuing my needs and wants more than I’m valuing God’s truth and more than I’m valuing her, regardless of what I SAY I WANT to do.
That may sound harsh, but it’s the reality. If you don’t like it, I strongly, strongly encourage you to seek God for His truth. Sometimes, God’s truth is harsh to us!
What are you finding value in? Is it of God? Is it founded on TRUTH? Or, are you just saying you want to value certain things and then doing another?
If I want to get really, really deep into it, I have to face the reality that Christ Himself tells me, “Die to self.” (Matthew 16:24-25) If I want to really face who I am in Christ, I have to accept that Paul told me to do “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” and “to look not only to my own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Yikes! Really? I have to die to self and think of others? What if I want what I want? What if I want to do what I want to do? What if I find value in ME?
In very, very casual terms, God says, “Stuff it. Do what I say or you don’t really VALUE Me.” The actual verse says, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)
So, I ask you…what are you saying you value in life and what are you really doing about it?