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Posted: July 20, 2017 11:54 a.m.

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Chaplain's Corner

A life worth living

Basic Training gives new Soldiers a card that defines their values. While every Soldier adopts the Army values, some take them to heart and make them personal. Others merely remember the acronym LDRSHIP to avoid push-ups. 

Values are one’s judgment of what is important in life. They stem from internal drives and motivate action. Regulations are very different. They are rules maintained by an external authority. They force action, and when abused, breed rebellion. Values create internal desires. Regulations create external demands.

By nature, we long to have our desires fulfilled and rebel against the demands of others. This principle applies across all social relationships: friends, family, coworkers, leadership, and government.

James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary,” (Federalist Papers, Feb. 8, 1788).

If humanity desired only what was right, regulations would be unnecessary. If every human adopted common values and lived out desires that which were good, noble, and admirable, laws would be superfluous. Living a common core of virtuous values is essential for shaping a better tomorrow.

I often tell my kids they never have to do another chore, go to school, or deal with difficult people ever again. As they stare at me in disbelief, I explain when your values give you the desire to do what is right your “have to” becomes a “want to.”

Many people view God as the enforcer of regulation and religion as an endless list of arbitrary requirements. Scripture teaches that God wants his followers to experience life in the most abundant and rewarding way possible (John 10:10). God changes priorities and brings a new set of values. Galatians 5:22-23 reads: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)”

There are no laws against living a life driven by positive values. Find inspiration to face the requirements of tomorrow by embracing the values you hold dear. Let your values be rooted in the imperishable virtues of love, joy, faith, hope, and goodness. Experience the abundant joy of a life full of meaning that comes from placing value on that which will last forever. Living by values makes living more valuable.

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