Here’s an integral truth: if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
This is true for almost any area of our lives; whether it’s our money decisions, career decisions or even life decisions.
If we don’t have a fair idea of how we want to handle a situation, whether hypothetical or real, we may end up doing anything to get by.
This may mean accepting a marriage proposal just so you’re married and not really considering if you’re compatible. It could mean working in an area we have no interest in just so that we’re working amongst other things.
But the need to stand for something is even more paramount when it comes to our faith. Our Lord and saviour had some strong words for the man who is neither hot or cold, who is neither for or against his kingdom.
“I know your deed, that you are neither cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Today, I would like us to consider where we stand in everything concerning our lives.
We should be clear and consistent about who we want to be and avoid living a double life where we are a different person depending on the circumstances and situation. A common example is doing something at work you wouldn’t want to do at home or doing something at home you wouldn’t want those outside to know.
“You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes and briers do not bear figs.”
One of the ways to achieve clarity and consistency is to set and live by our life principles.
What are life commandments?
I first heard of life commandments from a renowned happiness expert and author, Gretchen Rubin. While she calls her’s personal commandments, I chose to call mine life commandments because they are the very things we want to dictate our lives.
According to Rubin, her personal commandments are “…the overarching principles by which I try to live my life.”
For many of us, we think we are a certain way until we are confronted with real-life situations.
Why life commandments
It creates an opportunity to know what we stand for and to let our thoughts, words and actions reflect this.
Our principal text will be from Psalm 1:1-3
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or
sit in the company of mockers but whose delight is in the law of the lord and who meditates on it day and night.”
We can’t say we want to be people of integrity but are always making questionable decisions or hanging out with people who are the opposite of this.
So, I ask again. What sort of person are you? Is it consistent with who you want to be and more so, is that who you are no matter where you are?
I hope we take some time to consider the kind of person we want to be and write out the particular qualities and principles we wish to live by.
How to set life commandments
There are certain things we need to consider in setting life commandments, I have listed a few of these:
- Your personality and habits
How do you act, day in day out? What are those things that define you, those things people say about you and the things that influence you?
‘to thine own self, be true.’ You’ve probably heard this quote or some variation of same.
Consider your temperament and habits in formulating your life commandments. You may have heard of the four main personality types popularised by Dr Tim LaHaye. Are you mostly Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric or Melancholic? Find out and use this information in creating your life principles.
What matters to you?
This is central to defining our life principles. We have to know the things that truly matter to us. If for instance, you believe in helping others and in being there for them then one of your life commandments should revolve around giving (of your time and resources).
If you appreciate honesty and receiving feedback then you want a principle around the ‘choosing truth’ and encouraging communication, or on being open.
Also, if you are ambitious and like to focus on creating solutions, one of your life commandments could be – ‘problem solver’, ‘resolution focused’.
Don’t create too many
Yes, there is a tendency that once we start, we will get carried away with the whole experience( the chance to chart a course for our lives) but remember these are supposed to be “overarching principles” not dime-a-dozen platitudes.
So, if we choose 30, 50 or even a 100 commandments how will we remember them, much more live by them?
When I was writing mine, I started with a plan to write no more than 10 but finally ended up with 13 (had to stop myself from continuing).
Make it clear and be realistic
This goes without saying. While life commandments are not goals, they are still things we want to attain. So, they have to be a foreshadowing of who we are and want to become.
Use simple and memorable words/phrases that you would usually use.
Here are a few of mine:
- Do the right thing even when it’s hard
- Don’t be afraid to change – for good
- Embrace humility and never let it go
- Never stop learning
Align with Biblical principles
This list wouldn’t be complete without ensuring that our guiding principles in life are also in line with biblical virtues. As Christian women, I believe whatever principles, rules or guides we decide to live by must be subject to the word of God. Basically, they must pass the grace and truth test.
What’s the test, you ask?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure., whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Here are a few biblical principles from the above scripture:
- Accept and proclaim the truth
- Walk in integrity
- Do the right thing
- Live blamelessly
- See beauty in everything
- Give honour where it is due
- Whatever you do, give it your all and do it for God’s glory.
I pray you are guided by these biblical principles and all the others, including the fruits of the spirit when you’re setting your life commandments
Create your life commandments today
I hope this post has provided the groundwork for you to create and apply your personal or life commandments.
Do you already have guiding principles for your life? Please share.