The Institute in Basic Life Principles espouses seven Biblical principles which they claim apply to every person, regardless of culture, background, religion, age, education, or social status and govern our personal lives and relationships. I’m going to review them and give my opinions of them.
God has a precise purpose for each person, object, and relationship that He creates. As we understand and live in harmony with His design, we will discover self-acceptance, identity, and fulfillment in life.
I would call this principle Do What You Love. If you are not living your true purpose, you will not love what you do. The first step is to find your purpose, the next is to live it.
“Don’t do what you hate”
― The Gospel of Thomas (saying 6)
God assigns various responsibilities to parents, church leaders, government officials, and other authorities. As we learn to acknowledge and honor these authorities, we can see God work through them to provide direction and protection in our lives. Honoring our authorities brings inward peace.
While I believe that you should respect your parents unless they have done something terribly wrong to earn your disrespect, I don’t believe that God has granted authority over me to church or state. In fact, I think ceding control of your life to human authorities is dangerous.
I would replace this principle with Surrender to What Is. Do not struggle against reality, or be unhappy if your expectations of how things should be are not met. Let go of your attachment and accept things as they are. This doesn’t mean you don’t try to improve things, only that you aren’t unhappy when things aren’t as you’d like them.
God holds us accountable for every word, thought, action, attitude, and motive. When we offend others, asking for forgiveness and making proper restitution are essential steps to maintaining a clear conscience.
Take Responsibility for your actions. When you make a mistake, admit it and do what you can to prevent repeating it in future. We all have agency. Don’t passively blame others. You are responsible for your own life.
“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
― Sigmund Freud
The hurts of offenders can reveal our “blind spots.” God grants us grace for personal cleansing, growth, and achievement as we learn to respond with full forgiveness to those who offend us.
I would call this principle Forgive Others. Don’t allow a stranger to ruin your day. By dwelling on a slight, it is you who are causing your own suffering. If there is someone toxic in your life, you should remove them from it or at least avoid them. Try to maintain stoicism and detachment.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor Frankl
Everything we have has been entrusted to us by God, and we are to use these resources wisely. Yielding our personal rights and expectations to God brings true security and enables us to overcome anger and worry.
Be a Steward. We need to leave the world a better place than the one we received from our elders. That means paying our debts, protecting our rights and freedoms, and bringing up our children to be good and prosperous in turn. We must avoid fighting fire with fire, and end violence, but be strong against the criticism of those who want to sell the future of our children for their own pleasure in the present.
“The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent try to take it by force.
― Matthew 11:12
Godly freedom is not the privilege to do what we want; rather, Godly freedom is the power to do what is right. Regaining ground that has been surrendered to sin brings moral purity, equipping us to serve others in genuine love.
Nothing gives you the power to do what is right unless you Have Integrity. To have integrity, you must integrate all parts of your life together. You can’t be a good family man or woman if you bend the law in business. Going to church on Sunday does not absolve you from cheating on your spouse. No one can compartmentalize their different roles. With integrity, you can become truly righteous.
We can discover God’s purpose for our lives by grafting Scripture into our hearts and minds, using it to “think God’s thoughts” and to build a foundation for making wise decisions.
The key to success in the ever changing world is to Practice Continuous Improvement. Learn from your mistakes. When you fall, pick yourself back up again. Cultivate childlike curiosity and think outside the box. Don’t allow yourself to simply follow the rules. Think about what is right.
“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
― Matthew 18:3