This past Sunday, we continued to walk through a series on our 12 values. (You can find the full listing here.) Dictionary.com defines a value as ”A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.” Thinking in this vein, the values we have are an attempt to reflect our priorities, what’s important to us; and in addition, to reflect what we desire to become, what will characterize us a local body of Jesus followers.
We talked about “character” values…those related to the nature of how we will be doing what we do; the spirit which we hope will characterize us…Boldness; Mercy; & Humility.
Boldness. We serve the sovereign, mighty God who has called us to be strong and courageous in him: Joshua 1:9…”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This charge to be strong and courageous would be overwhelming were it not for the promises: “I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you…” (v. 5); and “…the LORD your God is with you wherever you go…” (v. 9).
Therefore, we want to boldly dream big dreams and take daring risks that can only succeed if God’s Spirit is actively involved and his blessings are poured out on us. We want to step back and say, “No way! It’s so clear that the Spirit of God led, empowered, and blessed this!” He supplies strength and boldness, so that in all things he gets the glory!
Mercy. We will understand that we are recipients of God’s mercy, grace, and love! Psalm 23:6…“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Ephesians 2:4-5…”But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“ 1 Peter 1:3…”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
Because of that, every interaction that we have as servants of God needs to be bathed in God’s mercy and God’s love: Matthew 5:7…”Blessed are the merciful…” All teaching, discipleship, outreach and even correction must be made, as fallible human beings…in light of God’s mercy as extended to us, flowing out of that mercy in acts mercy, love and concern for the individual.
Humility. Our God humbles the proud and exalts the humble: Matthew 23:12…”Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” James 4:6…”God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility begins with seeing ourselves rightly. We want to be men and women who humbly recognize our own sin and desperate need for God’s grace and mercy through Christ. And from that humble, gracious place, be people who show grace and mercy to those God places in our lives – considering them and their interests as more important than our own.
Our boldness will be a mercy showing boldness, done in a spirit of God-dependent, other-oriented humility.
Consider this example: Let’s say you see or learn of a need in the life of a friend…
- Boldly go after meeting that need because you know that God has boldly pursued you with his steadfast love, redeeming mercy and saving grace, and because you know that he will strengthen you in your boldness – He will be glorified in your boldness!
- Show mercy in the meeting of that need – you are giving someone something they have not earned from you because you understand what mercy means for a desperate person and you long to be like your merciful Father – in your showing mercy, God will be glorified!
- Be humble as you serve to meet the need – remembering that the person you are serving is no different than you. They need to feel that you are not doing it because you feel yourself superior, but because you are a servant, like your Savior – your genuine humility will deflect glory form yourself and allow God to be glorified!