Mark Affleck

My Life’s Viewfinder Went Completely Dark

February 25, 2017
Spiritual Growth

Values are still important, right?
Of course they are.
But they seem to be losing their importance and power today. It’s like there is a temptation to think, “Yeah, I live by Christian values” without any visible evidence in the viewfinder of life.
That kind of thinking is very dangerous because our values, in large part, drive what we do today and determine where we go tomorrow.
The stakes today have zoomed into the stratosphere as society’s moral code is being rewritten to embrace a new standard of normative behavior. Our social fabric is being ripped to shreds and the evisceration of our values has only begun its slide into the abyss. Just like mammoth ice chards that slowly melt from glaciers and calve into the sea, our values are melting one drop at a time right before our eyes.
This is an urgent warning for all of us to monitor the messages coming into our mind, heart, and soul because they threaten to delude us into emasculating our CHRIST-CENTERED VALUES.
If our values are “off,” then everything in our life journey is off because the decisions we make are based on the values powering our life’s GPS. Values are the window into our soul. Our aspiration and inspiration. Our navigation and calibration.
With values under siege like no time before, we need to mount an intentional and assertive response. For me, that response starts with laying down a sturdy foundation built on the Holy Trinity and everything it represents.
This is the foundational value of every believer’s life—God first. Not job first. Not money first. Not even family first. God first.
Christian values come from God’s Word. There is no ambiguity and no room for relativism. The values guiding our direction in life and behavior along the way must be centered on God.
Identifying our supporting values presents an immediate challenge. It’s not so much what other values we choose. There’s a degree of safety built into those decisions if we have established God as our first and foundational core value. But there is a huge risk at his point because if we have too many values, we really don’t have any! How in the world can 6 or 8 or 10 core values all come into play?
I keep the number of my values in check by limiting them to just four. Here they are:

  1. GOD

That doesn’t leave much room for money and fame and possessions and status and earthly pleasures, does it?
What follows is my full personal values statement.
My life mission is grounded in Christ, with God at the center of everything, like the hub of a wheel. God is either first or last; there is no in-between. In the hub position, all other aspects of my life become subordinate spokes because God can never be on the outside of a “natural world hub” that relies on our strengths or money or fame.

  • I want to connect with God daily so he is truly the driver of my life and real-time course corrections can be made along the way.
  • I want to live with the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians chapter five—love, joy, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, goodness, peace, humility, and patience.
  • I want to live my life with joy and God’s unforced rhythms of grace, eschewing the anger-anxiety-angst triad that is so destructive.
  • I want to reach people with my “Love God Fear Nothing” message of a full surrender to the Lord.
  • I want to know that God is all I have and all I need; and realize that spiritual growth comes mostly from trial and tribulation.
  • I want my contribution to God’s Kingdom to be made through a daily commitment to Christ, for life, and being available and open to what God would have me do and who he would have me be.
  • I want to live a life featuring a persistent commitment to taking incremental steps forward so God can create in me a “mosaic contribution” over time.
  • I want to live with purpose and significance, not achievement and success in the world’s terms. After a career of significance as a CEO in the first half of my life, I want to serve God and the Kingdom without reservation in the second half.

On the family front . . .

  • I want to honor my wife Cindy and our marriage by always working for peace, fulfillment, connection, and intimacy as soul mates and best friends.
  • I want to be perpetually tied to and connected with my children–Evan and Megan–to help them put God in the hub position of their lives and find their life purpose. I want to teach them that integrity, honesty, the hard-work ethic, and a strong family orientation are not enough to build character. Genuine, deep character can only come from emulating Christ.

Life must be lived with honesty, integrity and honor while anchored to Christ-like attributes.

  • I want those who know me best to respect me the most as a man of deep character.
  • I want to always have a smile on my face and twinkle in my eye so others do not determine how I feel.
  • I want to live a life that values financial responsibility—with God in the primary position.

Health, vitality, vigor, and energy are essential parts of a balanced life.

  • I want to live a life that is athletic and always with the highest level of conditioning possible.
  • I want to treat my body as the temple that I know God honors by eating right and managing my health and lifestyle toward purity and balance.
  • I want to remember that life balance has nothing to do with time and is an attitude reflecting itself in all my life roles–man, husband, father, disciple, friend, leader, servant, and entrepreneur.
  • I want to live each day to climb the mountain that day.
  • I don’t want to make excuses or blame others.
  • I want to be lifelong learner and explorer, reading, reaching, responding, and risking.
  • I want to live with the philosophy that says, “Don’t be what you were. Don’t be what you are. Be what you’ve never been.”

How about you? Have you written down your life values? Try it and see what God does.

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