Every person has beliefs, values and a way of life.
A belief is what we consider to be true. For example, “I believe everyone should live in a house” or “I believe there is a God.”
A value is anything that we prioritize as important. For example, “I value having house” or “I value worshiping God.”
A way of life is simply a pattern of doing things based on what we believe and value. For example, “I live in a house” or “I meet with others to worship God on Sundays.”
Everyone, whether we are Christian or not, has beliefs, values and a way of life, but not every person has the same beliefs, values and way of life. Some people believe we should live in apartments or that there is no God. Others value renting over owning, watching sports on Sundays rather than worshiping. People live out their beliefs and values by living in all kinds of places, even on the streets and by “worshiping” all sorts of objects and activities rather than God.
Different beliefs, values and ways of life push us away from one another whereas shared beliefs, values and ways of life draw us together. It is common for people to tolerate others in our society, but people tolerate another’s beliefs, values and ways of life only if it does not impact ours.
To be a Christian is to hold in common beliefs and values and to share a way of life. This is only possible as people die to beliefs, values and ways of life that lead us away from Christ. Jesus noted this when he said (Matthew 16:24-26):
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
God’s Word speaks of the things we share as Christians and that draw us together (Ephesians 4:4-6):
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.