Summary: A wonderful sermon on practical ways how we can set right values and priorities in life to be prosperous and blessed.
Every person has their own priorities and values in life. Our values set our priorities. It determines where you spend your effort and time. We pick up our values basically from what we are constantly exposed to – like our childhood experiences, our family upbringing, our education, our friends, our neighborhood, our workplace environment etc. So at the end of the day it is we who chose and decide the source of our values.
Illustration: The children of Israel had been taken captive into Babylon. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were chosen among the captives to stand before the king. The king had appointed them a daily portion of his meat and wine for them to drink. However, Daniel and friends did not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat. He knew he was a Hebrew, he knew his values. So Daniel chose to stand by his values which set up his priorities in life.
So how do you set your priorities right for the New Year 2017?
1. Choose the source of your values.
What is the source of your values? Where are you getting them from?
Have you made values and principles in your life based on the world outside or have you made values and principles of your life based on the Word of God? It is important where I get my values from, because my values determine how successful I am.
Illustration: Some people get their values out of television. They spent hours and hours in front of that box and eventually their life gets molded by what they see in the TV. This influences their behaviour, choices, hairstyle, clothing, dialogues etc.
There are some who get their values from their friends. You can just look at a person and just know his friends because friends share the same values. “Birds of the same feather flock together.” That is why it is very important to have good friends.
There are some who get their values from the internet, the Google. Google is not the Bible.
If you spend on average 2 hours everyday in front of the TV and 2 hours on internet in a year you would have spent 1500 hours seeing TV and internet. It means by the time you are 70 years old you spend 16 years watching television and internet. On the other hand if you are a Sunday believer you come to church for 1-1/2 hours a week. So in one year you are 78 hours in the church if you come all Sundays. By the time you are 70 years you spend only 8 months in church.
Psalms 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. ‘Turn my eyes away from worthless things’ would be a good verse to put on your TV set.
Therefore as people of God we are largely exposed more to the world outside than with God and the presence of God. So there is a great chance that we will be molded and exposed as to what morality is, what decency is, what integrity is and what our values are by what we see on the TV rather than by the Bible.
Listen, if you want success, if you want to prioritize your life, if you want God to use you we need to differentiate between the worldly values and the biblical values.
Values of the World
TLB 15“Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you do not really love God; 16for all these worldly things, these evil desires—the lust for physical pleasure, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance—these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself. 17And this world is fading away, and these evil, forbidden things will go with it, but whoever keeps doing the will of God will live forever.”
2. The values of the world.
TLB For all these worldly things, these evil desires—the lust for physical pleasure –
AMP For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] –
John calls the value of the world “the lust for physical pleasure.” In the NT flesh is mentioned as a part of our nature and when flesh is without the grace of God it leads a person to sin. To be subjected to physical pleasure means to lead a life than can satisfy our carnal or sinful nature.
The people of the world are craving for such pleasure and everything in this world is made to satisfy people’s physical pleasure. If you see every TV program, every product, every film, every event in the secular world is tailor-made to satisfy man’s pleasure.