The 3 Most Important Principles To Live By

Of all the principles I’ve seen and read, there are 3 that stand out significantly. It’s not because they’re my favorite or that they’re the most profound. But simply because, when applied, they help you make the truest, pure, and moral choice. 

As someone who tries to live by firm principles, I’ve found that it’s important to remain flexible and available to learn at all times. But even though we grow and change, there are some truths that simply stand the test of time. No matter what your season looks like, how far ahead or behind you are, these 3 principles apply to every area and season of your life.

Principle is defined as a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for 1) a system of belief or 2) behavior or 3) for a chain of reasoning. And what I’m about to share with you does all of those. 

Here’s what this post will look like. 

I’ll first explain how it’s not principles that change, but us. Then, I’ll introduce the principles and how these particular ones serve as the foundation for our belief systems, behaviors, and chain of reasoning. And last, I’ll talk about each principle individually.

Principles that won’t change when you do

As I mentioned earlier, we are constantly changing. We are ever-growing and developing creatures who, oddly enough, don’t always like the change. Sometimes we fight change, without realizing that even that is changing us.

Granted, there are habits and choices we make daily that seem repetitive and possibly mundane, but in the long run, there is always some kind of transformation that happens. 

Sidenote: This gives me the right to change my perspective on what I’m about to share with you. By all means, feel free to do the same. Take it all with a grain of salt.

As much as we may change, the point of a principle is that its truth remains fundamental. Even though your perspective, understanding, and intellect increase and expand, the very fundamental truths need to remain simple. You can make it as profound as you’d like and go as deep as you want, but you should always be able to explain it to an 8-year-old.

You’ll find the 3 most important principles for your life in Micah 6:8, which says:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

This isn’t just a hobby-lobby-plaque-worthy verse.

From the way you do your job, parent, treat your spouse, talk to any people, plan your days and weeks, achieve goals, build relationships, relax, and even THINK; these principles, when applied, will transform your perspective and shift your personal paradigms to reflect God’s truth and love continuously. 

These Principles are foundational

Act justly. Love mercy. And walk humbly with your God.

These 3 principles are fundamental to your faith, behavior, and chain of reasoning.

Meaning, when you live by them, your faith (or belief system) gets stronger and firmer because they correlate to every commandment of God.

Your behavior reflects your beliefs, because they make you think through how you want to behave towards others and yourself. Instead of acting out of your sinful inclination (be it selfishness, greediness, complaining, etc.), you act out of your newly created self (see Colossians 3 for more).

And lastly, for your chain of reasoning, which is your if-then analysis. These principles connect your logical reasonings to your spiritual understandings. Making your relationship with God more than a religious commitment.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Micah 6:8 is like a cord of three strands, representing the most important principles that will always lead to truth and transformation, and when applied, cannot get easily broken.

You will find each principle present throughout Jesus’ life and teachings, which is ultimately who we need to reflect (2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24).

As we look at each principle up close, think about what truths you live by right now. Grab a pen and paper and write what stands out to you.

Principle 1: Act Justly

We’re biased about ourselves. Without a doubt, we will always look out for our own backs and vote, per se, for ourselves.

If you look up the word justly, its definition is according to what is morally right or fair; fairly.

This definition isn’t stated in either of our favor. It is according to WHAT is morally right or fair, not who. Yet, our tendency is to view this definition, considering our own favor. 

I had a situation come about where I had every “right” to lash out in anger and defend my case. But since this was something I recently read and the Holy Spirit is our Helper, this verse came to mind and helped me remember I wasn’t alone in the boat.

The person on the offense had a very similar situation to what they were accusing me of. So, to act justly, meant to extend compassion as I would’ve wanted it extended to me in the first place. Considering what Jesus did for me and His command to love others as He would (John 15:12), it was my duty to act justly by uprooting my temper and sowing a seed of compassion and understanding instead. 

This also makes me think of the woman caught in adultery.

They brought her before Jesus to get stoned, but more to trap Jesus. The leaders wanted to trick him in his words (read John 8:1-11) so that they could use it against him. But he opens the conversation and says he who has never sinned throw the first stone, and one by one they left. No accusers left and the only one who could accuse didn’t.  

We are all dealing with something in life. Even now, you probably thought of a situation or problem you have. And that’s the thing. Every person you encounter, even those you least suspect, has something like that.

The entire old testament could get summed up by the Golden rule and it gets repeated in the new testament. But this principle, to act justly, remains completely in your hands. You can either look out for yourself and do what’s best for only you, or you can remember the Golden Rule to help you act justly as Jesus would.

Principle 2: Love Mercy

Give others the same measure of mercy you want to receive.

Mercy in Hebrew (hesed) also represents kindness, goodness, favor, and good. This principle doesn’t just mean to show mercy where you feel is necessary, but to love extending it.

The first principle touches on judging righteously. This one focuses on favor. It’s a training of the mind to create habitual thought-patterns that will help you give another the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, you’ll train yourself to do the opposite.

For many of us, it’s common to assume the worst. You see many grown-ups doing it and then it trickles into you and your peers, and it goes on. It’s not intentional, but just how the way things are. For example, if you didn’t answer my call, something bad happened (to you, us, or even me).

But the older I get, the more I realize that loving mercy means to really love showing it. That it means to always give the benefit of the doubt and to assume the absolute best. Not out of pity or partiality, but based on principle, the fundamental truth. 

Like the story of the Good Samaritan.

His love for mercy to a stranger superseded the standards of culture, religion, and social rank. His love for mercy revealed love and mercy to the broken and bruised. This story is much more than just loving on your neighbor when others pass by. It’s accepting, taking care of, and being there for the person whether you know their past; whether you’re aware of their struggles or sins; and whether you know certain facts that should hinder you from loving them.

Jesus extended mercy to the untouchables.

He met with leaders in private to share the Good News. And He invited the little children when the disciples rebuked them.

Again, you will never know the reality behind another pair of eyes, but you can do your best to peer into their heart by loving mercy. Loving to extend mercy!

This is assuming the very best, no matter how “in the wrong” that person seems to you.

It’s all about relationship, there is room for hard truth when you first love mercy. If you don’t love mercy, it will be hard to act justly. 

Principle 3: Walk Humbly (with your God)

I would advise none of you to try to be humble, but to be humble. As to acting humbly, when a man forces himself to it, that is poor stuff. When a man talks a great deal about his humility, when he is very humble to everybody, he is generally a canting hypocrite. Humility must be in the heart, and then it will come out spontaneously as the outflow of life in every act that a man performs.

(Spurgeon)

Spurgeon’s quote is a great, straightforward message about what it means to be humble. It’s not about trying to be humble, but actually being humble. It starts in the heart and comes from a place of abiding in God.

To walk humbly with your God, or to abide in Him, means to turn within constantly. God sent His Holy Spirit to abide in us, so it’s to Him we are turning within to. This is the part that helps us understand how Jesus lived when He said the Son can do nothing by Himself, but only by what He sees the Father doing.

Humility doesn’t mean timidity or insecurity. On the contrary, it’s being completely aware of who you are and confidently conscious of whose you are.

Nowadays, we’re trying to do everything quickly and immediately, without giving ourselves a moment to take a breath. We act out of a reactive state and end up with regret. We don’t give ourselves time to slow down and process, to think before we speak, and walk louder than our talk.

But humility also doesn’t mean being too slow. It’s not like you have to process every aspect of life. It’s more about getting into the habit of living from a place of love for God, others, and yourself. Instead of staying in that reactive state, you mature and grow.

This simple principle can help us do just that. Especially when you connect it to the life of Jesus.

When I’m in a rush or don’t want to deal with a certain situation or person, I can get kind of snarky and snappy. I actually had a situation at work where I acted snappy towards a coworker, but because I had just formed this verse into 3 principles, the Holy Spirit really amplified this last one.

Almost immediately after the interaction, my reasoning kicked in with this thought, “That was not at all humble. Go apologize.” I knew that if I didn’t, my behavior would repeat. So, before I could think any more, I took a deep breath and apologized. That same coworker came by later and expressed gratitude for the simple act of obedience on my part.

It wasn’t about me or the other person, but about walking humbly with God. About paying attention to what He needs you to do, being ready to do it, and then ready to do what’s after that. To be in a constant state of humility means to be ready to do what He asks of you as well.

Conclusion

It’s important to stay flexible and available at all times, because that’s how you change for the better and grow into the best version of yourself. It’s really not that complicated.

Jesus did nothing apart from the Father, and the Father led him to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly. When you read through the Gospels, you’ll see these principles resonate throughout His life.

The Holy Spirit gives us power from God to continue living a holy life and to bring the gospel to others effectively. He will always lead you into truth and transformation, as will these principles, for they were inspired by Him.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Set these as your principles and you will always find truth and transformation!

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