Two weeks ago, I blogged about living out your values. Then I decided to turn this into a multi-part series about living out your values by taking each of my values and talking about them.
My values are faith, family, friendships, health, writing, work, and creativity. These seven values define who I am and how I live my life. And often, they will intertwine.
As I stated two weeks ago—when we live according to our values, we are living according to Philippians 4:8 (NIV):
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
When we are living a values-based life, then we are striving to find balance in doing what is more important rather than being ruled by a constant state of busyness that leaves us feeling exhausted all the time.When we are living a values-based life, then we are striving to find balance in doing what is more important rather than being ruled by a constant state of busyness that leaves us feeling exhausted all the time. #tellhisstory #faith… Click To Tweet
Let’s face it—we will always be busy, but how we spend our time gives us insight into what we value.
This past weekend, I attended the funeral of a man who loved well and was well-loved by his family and friends. When people spoke, every single one mentioned two things in common: he loved the Lord, and he loved his family. This man had a large family—eight children, twenty-three grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. The full church spoke to the testament of this man’s impact on others.
As I focus on my value of faith daily, I need to think about what that means to me. How I develop and nurture that value may be different than the way you do. For me, faith means spending time with Jesus through Bible reading and prayer. It also means attending a Bible-based church and serving where God has called me to minister. I’ve come up with five ways to show how I value my faith.
I long to be so disciplined in having an intentional time with the Lord that nothing gets in the way of beginning my day by spending time with Him. Striving to have a daily quiet time with God helps us grow in our relationship with Him. When we dig into His word and take the time to apply it to our lives, then we are maturing in the faith and being more equipped to handle life challenges with peace and strength.When we dig into His word and take the time to apply it to our lives, then we are maturing in the faith and being more equipped to handle life challenges with peace and strength. #TellHisStory #Christianliving #livebyfaith Click To Tweet
Being intentional about that quality time with the Lord helps us to have a more intimate relationship. The beauty of having this intimate time with the Lord is all we have to do is show up. We can come as we are and know without a doubt that He loves us unconditionally. As we grow that relationship and deepen our intimacy with Him, then we are being changed to experience deeper intimacy with others because the Lord is changing us from the inside out.
Inside Out Faith
Before I begin writing my novels, I get to know my characters from the inside out. Their internal wants and desires drive their external goals because that’s human behavior. When we take that intentional and intimate time with the Lord, then He is changing us from the inside out. I remember the first days after rededicating my life with the Lord. I so wanted to be that perfect Christian, and I failed miserably because my expectations were too high. There’s no such thing as a perfect Christian.
I had to come to a point in my life when I surrendered myself, flaws and all, and asked God to use me just as I was. And He did. But the more time I spent in His word, the more I evolved to be like Him. I’ve been a Christian for over twenty-five years. While I’ve come a long way from that very ordinary February night when I gave my heart to Jesus, I still have a long way to go. The more I stay in His presence, the more He changes me from the inside out.
I think every parent or anyone who works with children has heard this cry at least once in their lives, “He/she’s copying me!” Often, when we try to copy others, we’re looking to gain attention for ourselves. However, when we imitate the qualities of Jesus, then we are reflecting who He is and giving Him all the glory.
Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV reminds us:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
When we value our faith, it’s not enough to have that intentional and intimate time with God. As we allow Him to change us from the inside out, then we need to put that faith into practice by using the gifts and talents He gives each one of us and sharing who He is with others.
God has equipped me with the skills to write fiction. I tell stories that “promise hope & happily ever after.” Even though I write romance novels, my stories are based on Christian principles and weave in God’s truth.
Additionally, He’s also given me a heart for children’s ministry. There’s nothing purer than seeing children learn how much Jesus loves them. When we help build those spiritual foundations in young children, then we are equipping them for a lifetime of internal strength and confidence to endure what comes their way.
I love to encourage others. A year ago, I started a card of compassion ministry at my church. I supply all the materials and guide women to make a couple of cards each month in order to send those notes of encouragement to someone who could use them. Having a card show up in the mail among the pile of bills can let someone else know how much they are loved.
When I look at those who have inspired my faith, I see people who love well. They invest in their relationships with the Lord and others. They are full of grace, knowing we’re all fallible and make mistakes. They are generous with their money, time, and talents. Most of all, they are humble, giving God all the glory for the great things He has done in their lives.
Those are the same qualities I’m trying to obtain so I can inspire others to seek Jesus with their whole hearts. We are called to be the salt and light in this world. To be honest, it’s not always easy. But if we stay true to who He is and how He wants us to live our lives, then we will develop a spiritual legacy that inspires others to want to follow in His footsteps.
Your Turn:How do you value your faith? Five Ways to Value Your Faith #TellHisStory #Faith #Valuesbasedliving Click To Tweet