Identifying Core Values For Authentic Christian Living

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Core values and beliefs are what shapes how we live out an authentic Christian life. It is also the foundation in which I teach my patients on how to move toward self-discovery and defining meaning and purpose. Without core values, subsequent beliefs stemming from these core values, we live aimlessly and without direction. Values is what sparks passion and authenticity in our lives. We do well to bring ourselves to a greater sense of awareness of who we are in Christ. Not just saying we are in Christ but by being and living in Christ so that Christ is able to live and minister through us.

Core Values and Beliefs are Integral to Successful Recovery

Values are qualities or principles that people consider to be important and wish to personify. Your values represent what you view as most meaningful. These values often translate to the standards of behavior a person wants to demonstrate—to him- or herself, as well as to others. Our values help define the kind of person we want to be and the kind of life we want to live. When we live in accordance with them, our values influence our priorities, our thinking, our choices, our decision-making and our actions.

These values and beliefs are:

  • Something an individual chooses freely
  • Guiding principles to live an authentic life
  • Developed from alternatives where consequences are carefully considered
  • Based on how much worth a person considers the value to be
  • Publicly affirmed
  • Based on motivation and commitment where there is necessary action
  • Lived out within the persons life on a repeated basis

Reason we have core values helps us determine what is significantly important. Provide the framework in understanding who we are. They also help us define our sense of meaning and purpose. And when we live out an authentic Christian life – these core values leads us to a higher sense of awareness and confidence. Meaning, it leads to increased faith in God, self, and others.

Core values also help us make appropriate decisions that provides a sense of direction in fulfilling our Heavenly Father’s plan for our lives. They act as a spiritual compass.

active sinful transgression and substance use impact our values

When we look at the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ we see how liberating and freeing it is to find our sense of worth. Yet, our core values and beliefs are compromised when we live in continual sin and transgression. Active substance use keeps us from living true to who we are. There is an emotional toll that leaves us unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and without direction. It causes us to live contrary to what we truly value and increase in shame, guilt, and regret.

core values and beliefs restore our sense of authenticity and purpose

Understanding the importance of living a more mindful and meaningful Christian life we are committing ourselves over to God’s divine care and plan. Through our identity in Jesus Christ, we live out core values and beliefs that gives us strong motivation and commitment to change. To change and transforming our lives to do that which our Heavenly Father commands of us (see, Romans 12:1-2).

This influences our need to reach out and seek help. Find necessary support from others. Faithfully engage in praying for divine counsel, wisdom, and direction. Without support from others. Without a healthy prayer life. We become stagnant and isolated.

Through our core values and beliefs we are able to have a clear and definitive vision of who we are. Personal identity, through Jesus Christ, shapes our worldview and path. There is direction. There is meaning and purpose. It encourages genuine faith to grow and flourish. Whereby we are capable of setting and accomplishing realistic and meaningful goals. This forges our need to live intentionally with hope on a day-to-day basis.

Core values and beliefs helps us come to a place of understanding our real needs and desire for change. We become mindful where we accept what is happening. Problems, crisis, conflicts, all encourage us to take the opportunity to learn. To find value and meaning in those times of distress. Helps us move through moments of conflict and crisis with enduring faith and hope. And we have a good sense of direction regarding how our decisions may affect our personal journey and destination.

Finally, when we identify our personal core values and beliefs, we move ourselves from being a victim. It moves us to accepting who we are, despite our failures, shame, guilt, and transgressions. We see ourselves for who we truly are. Children of the Most High created in His divine image and likeness (see, Genesis 1:25-26).

Reflecting on what values are and how they are important

Values serve as guideline for how one lives their life; and, is something that a person freely chooses. Since our values and beliefs are freely chosen from alternatives it makes sense that our values are chosen after careful consideration of potential consequences of the alternatives. Impulsive and hasty decisions do not result in a value because the consequences were not taken into consideration.

Based on the fact that our values are chosen freely from among alternatives after thoughtful consideration of the consequences, a person is ensured of making intelligent and calculated decisions. However, we want to help our patients come to understand how values are chosen in order for it to be qualified as a value.

To qualify as a value, the decision must also be prized. Values stem from thoughtful choices we are wanting to make. For instance, a person wanting to freely make the choice to enter into treatment to change their present life as an exciting and appropriate choice for one person may not be reflective of someone who enters into treatment due to extenuating and motivating factors (e.g Probation, Court, Family, Employment pressure). While both do make the choice to engage in treatment, the one attending treatment because they value their life and become aware of the need to change present attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs shows what the individual values. The one attending treatment due to pressure may not value the need to improve one’s quality of life and are doing so out of mere compliance – that is not a value.

A second qualification for something that constitute a value is a willingness of the individual to make a public affirmation of the value. Meaning, there is no such thing as a secret value. Often, our decisions we tend to make carry some shame that prevents us from sharing with other people. However, if we have a true, concrete, value, it is important enough for us to share with others. It is also important enough for an individual to work toward causes that further the identified values.

Yet, the biggest factor in determining the value is the attached behaviors. A true value must be acted upon. For instance, if a person values exercise, it will be no surprise for the individual to be committed to jogging, lifting weights, and other physical activities. It is not enough to merely talk about something. It is about how we take the necessary steps to move toward the action needed to implement and live out, and by, our defined values and beliefs.

And, finally, values are something that show up on a repeated basis. Our defined values show up in a variety of ways. A person who values animals may have a pet or two, subscribe to some form of magazines on animals, and are engaged in meeting the needs of their pets. Since values show up in different ways, they influence our actions from one situation to another situation. This is how values become our guidelines. They define our major rules and patterns to live by.

Values are not something that is taught. And no one particular value is right or wrong. What is important in considering whether we are living by values or not is defined by how we think through an issue to ensure our actions reflect our own personal values. They are only capable of guiding us if we consider them while making important decisions, and plan our actions accordingly.

Choose your values from the list
Acceptance
To be accepted as I am
Accuracy
To be accurate in my opinions and beliefs
Achievement
To have important accomplishments
Adventure
To have new and exciting experiences
Attractiveness
To be Physically attractive
Figure 1
How do you find your core values? Follow these instructions
  1. Make three columns with each column having the following Header: Most Important, Very Important, and Important
  2. Review the list of values (Fig 1) and place those values you identify with in one of each column until you have approximately 10-15 listed in each column
  3. Review each column and chose those five values that you find most significantly reflective of where you presently are.
  4. Review each column and carefully choose your top three most significant and important values and rank them in order of importance within each column
    1. Most Important
    1. Very Important
    1. Important
  5. The top three values (Number 1 ranking value in each column) will become your declaration statement
  6. Remaining 6 values will become your purpose statement.
Write out a declaration statement

Based on the top three values, a declaration statement establishes a brief understanding of who you define yourself to be. Here is an example of a declaration statement based on the top three significant values:

Example One: I am a person who values spirituality, stability, and industrial.

Example Two: I am a person who values spiritual growth and maturation, having a life that is fairly consistent, where I am working hard and well established at accomplishing life tasks

The Declaration statement helps define our identity based on the most significant values. Remember, the first step toward a life with meaning and purpose begins with developing personal identity. By becoming aware of who we are helps us move toward establishing the necessary guidelines to begin living where there is meaning and purpose.

Write out a purpose statement

Once we make our declaration statement – identifying who we are – we want to establish our purpose statement where we define the next six core values. These help us align ourselves with who we are and how we are going to begin living our lives. There are a variety of ways to write out a purpose statement.

Example One: I strive to live a life where there is flexibility, growth, genuineness, autonomy, accuracy, and creativity.

Example Two:  I strive to live a life where I am capable of adjusting to new circumstances with ease, where it challenges me to keep changing and growing, in order to act in a manner that is true to who I am, in order to maintain self-determination and independence. This helps me develop an ability to be accurate in my beliefs and opinions through new and original ideas.

The purpose statement sets the guidelines and life rules where an individual begins to build the necessary confidence to begin living with meaning and purpose.

By helping our patients develop awareness of their core values, they begin to feel empowered with hope and direction. 

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