By Rick A. Hughes
Apples are quite symbolic: many people believe apples were the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Apples are the symbol for knowledge. Apples are the symbol for good health. Apples also symbolize what we cherish: you are the apple of my eye. If you say someone is “rotten to the core” you mean their character, their core values are corrupt. In other words their foundation, who they really are in private is contaminated! When it comes to the core, consistency is everything. It’s the core of the apple that makes the rest of the apple all that it is. The apple core is NOT the good part, just the most critical part. The core stands tall and holds the very seeds of the future; without it there would be no apple. Even the core has a center, and the center is the backbone of the core. Without it there is ultimately no core. So core values are the nonnegotiables, those principles we refuse to compromise. When all is stripped away, core values remain. Your core values are who you really are. Roy Disney is quoted as saying, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Core values are guiding principles by which we live our life’s, the internal ‘DNA’ that programs our thinking and guides our actions. Living your values can cost you; not living them can destroy you. Here’s the question that tests the validity of the things on your “core values” list. It is this: “Would you be willing to lose everything to stay true to this value?”
There is great value in our core values! Obviously, values should define our behaviors. Unfortunately we often live backwards and allow our behaviors to define our values. Core values create boundaries, boundaries create focus, and focus minimizes drift. Setting up landmarks or boundaries for ourselves becomes the basis of what we believe and practice. The Bible commends core values in our lives. Paul challenged Timothy “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine (core values); continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). King Solomon expressed “Remove not the ancient landmark (core values), which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). Perhaps the greatest value of core values is in times of a crisis of faith. We all experience times when our our faith, our belief system is severely tested: a time when we question our faith and decide what we believe. This crisis of faith is generally the result of one of the following: 1). poor choices followed by a tsunami of guilt, leaving you to decide whether to get right and repent or else abandon your faith and/or change your belief system, or 2.) unexplainable tragedy, painful or adverse circumstances that do not make sense and you question why? Unfortunately this is where many abandon their faith and lose out with God.
Johann von Goethe said it well when he declared “Things which MATTER MOST should never be at the mercy of the things which MATTER LEAST.” Perhaps we should all do an inventory and evaluate our core values and see where we stand. Remember, if you are good to the core, your future is bright: the core is where the seeds of your future lie.
Victory Worship Center, Ponca City, OK
Pastor Rick A. & Valeria Hughes