BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man” (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15 New King James Version).
In the scripture above, it is unfortunate that the people of this small city despised this wise man after being delivered from defeat through his wisdom. They ignored him thereafter because he was poor. They valued money more than wisdom. Yet, his wisdom, not money, delivered them.
The world makes wrong choices based on wrong values. Peter told the Jews, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you” (Acts 3:14 New King James Version). They preferred a murderer to the Holy One, Jesus, because they had wrong values. “But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. Pilate answered and said to them again, ‘What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?’ So they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him!’ Then Pilate said to them, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, ‘Crucify Him!’ So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified” (Mark 15:11-15 New King James Version).
In sociology, value is defined as “an ideal or principle that determines what is correct, desirable, or morally proper” (sociologydictionary.org).The world has so many wrong values hence they live a sinful life. The Bible says dishonouring the poor and giving preference to the rich in church assemblies is a sin (James 2:2-9). God chooses those despised by the world above those honoured. He chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Don’t imbibe worldly values. Expensive clothing doesn’t make the owner a person of honour, though the world honours people who wear such because they worship material things. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”(New King James Version).
Instead of calling prostitutes sexually immoral, the world has coined an attractive word for it – sexual worker! Prostitution is now work! Why should prostitution be classified as work? Some even call prostitutes escorts. Unfortunately, they’re escorting their partners-in-sin to hell!
The world calls sexual immorality “an affair.” This is dignifying sin when the Bible says fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites among others shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19, 21). Revelation 21:8-9 says that the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.
Nowadays, truth is no longer absolute. Everything is now relative. In the contemporary world, the situation determines what is right or wrong! The world’s values are upside down. People in many places prefer to celebrate wrong values instead of condemning them. The only thief is the dishonest person that is caught! The rest are not thieves once they escape. They can even join them to blame the person caught for stealing. The convention appears to be, “You can steal but make sure you’re not caught.”
The society is now so morally decadent that gay marriages and transgender practices are being tolerated and even promoted by government in some countries in the name of human rights. Is it not madness that there are gay pastors and pastors supporting same-sex marriage and even joining in ‘marriage’ the sinners involved?
Even among those who are not gays or lesbians, the sanctity of marriage is being eroded. Many couples are not committed to their marriages. They are not faithful to their marriage vows. Many partners who never imagined they would ever experience divorce have ended as divorcees because of the lack of commitment of their partners to the marriage or their unfaithfulness. If a spouse files for divorce, the partner cannot force him or her to remain in the marriage.
The wife of Billy Graham said that before she got married, someone gave her a gem of wisdom: “Where two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.” Applied to marriage, where a husband and wife always agree about everything, one of them is unnecessary! Incompatibility is not a Biblical reason for divorce.
Billy Graham, whose marriage to Ruth lasted 63 years before she went to be with the Lord at 87 years, also said, “Ruth and I are happily incompatible.” Today, couples go for divorce for the flimsiest reasons, including incompatibility
Also, sinful relationships producing so-called baby mamas and baby daddies are being celebrated nowadays as if it is right. But some single parents, who fit into this description, sincerely wish it never happened to them.
In the world today, it is all about self, not about God. You’re free to do whatever will make you happy, not minding whether it makes God sick and angry! The scripture says in the last days men shall be, among other things, lovers of self and lovers of money (2 Timothy 3:2). The New Living Translation says people will love only themselves and their money. So many people seek to please themselves, and not to please God. They say, “Follow your passion,” not follow God. Whether the passion is evil or not is not important.
Beware of worldly values. Everybody wants to own a big house, ride a big car, have a fat bank account, travel round the world, etc. These are the so-called marks of success! Many never bother how all this is acquired. Some motivational speakers, and even preachers, keep driving the message of materialistic success down the throats of their audiences. This is the good life people must achieve! It is the rat race all must participate in – a fierce competitive struggle for wealth and power.
Yes, God wants you to succeed, but material things are not the marks of true success. You should aspire to become the best you can, but not at the expense of your soul, eternity, health, family or integrity. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul (Matthew 16:26).
Don’t imbibe worldly values
Your net worth does not determine your heavenly worth. When you’re close to death, your wealth will mean nothing to you again. What will matter is your relationship with God and the important people in your life. It is foolish to gather so much at the expense of eternity with God when you’ll have no control over what you’ve amassed once you’re gone. Ecclesiastes 2:18-20 says, “Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity” (New King James Version).
Beware of worldly values. Everything is now for show – prayer, giving, ministry, etc. All is for self-aggrandizement. But the scripture says, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4 New King James Version). Similarly, prayer or fasting should not be for public show but to attract God’s attention (verses 5-7; 16-18).
With regard to marriage, finances, music, dressing, communication, etc. beware of worldly values. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 New King James Version). Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind then you’ll know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
God wants His children to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) and the salt of the earth (verse 13). If you’ve given your life to Jesus, you’re a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You’re in the world, but you’re not of this world (John17:16, 15:19). Don’t be stained by the world (James 1:27b). Don’t be influenced by the values of the world. Let the Word of God be your lamp – your guide (Psalm 119:105). Abide in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9).
Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (New King James Version).
If you’ve already given your heart to Jesus, run away from all this. They’re all part of the works of the flesh that God is not pleased with. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 New King James Version).
The values of the world are not based on the Word of God so their choices lead them to engage in the works of the flesh, which will shut the door of the kingdom of God against them. The destination of the sinner is hell fire though it’s not God’s desire for them to perish (2 Peter 3:9). “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New King James Version).
Imbibe Christian Values
If you’re a child of God, a member of His kingdom, your values should be different from that of the world. If you’re not yet born again, give your life to Jesus today. A Christian should imbibe Christian values. Christian values are values that originate from the teachings of Jesus, which Church subscribed to and Christians have been teaching since the church was born. These are supposed to become attributes of each believer.
The fruit of the Spirit encapsulates some of the Christian values. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version). The fruit of the Spirit negates the works of the flesh referred earlier to in Galatians 5:19-21, which reflect worldly values.
Another list, which can be regarded as Christian values, is in 2 Peter 1:5-7. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5-7 New King James Version).
There is no single complete list of Christian values, but they are derivable from the teachings of Jesus. In addition to the ones I’ve highlighted, Christian values also include, but not limited to, faith, holiness, honesty, forgiveness, respect, gratitude, diligence, humility and, compassion.
One Christian value that captures all
Based on the teachings of Jesus, one can say that the one value that captures all Christian values is love. Jesus reduced the Ten Commandments to one – love. He said the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and the second is equally important is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Verse 40 says, “All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (New Living Translation).
Love is the surest way to fulfill all the laws. According to Romans 13:8-10, “If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting — and any other commandment — are all summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements” (New Living Translation). If you walk in love, you’ll fulfill all the laws! You will live as a Christian is supposed to live, different from those who are living according to worldly values. Beware of worldly values.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947