<<values, rules of conduct>>

While commands are orders given to be obeyed, principles are precepts about the conduct that should govern our personal lives and, if followed, will result in our character being enriched and living a meaningful life. These basic truths are a foundation or guide to action, indicating the best way to live such as “Forgive and you will be forgiven…Seek first the Kingdom of God and whatever is necessary

Live by the principles of God’s Kingdom

will be given unto you…Do to others as you would like done to you” (Mt 6:14,33; Lk 6:31). Others include: dealing with broken human relationships, being effective in ministry by dealing with our own faults first before trying to sort out others, sowing and reaping and living at peace with everyone (Mt 5:23,24, 7:3-5; Gal 6:7,8; Heb 12:14). These are universal Biblical principles of living that cover every facet of life and are not just for Christians to live by. All societies benefit from applying them. God also operates according to divine principles and because He never changes, His justice, mercy and love are always consistent with His character (Num 23:19; Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8).

Self-motivation and self-discipline are required virtues of a principled person, enabling them to live with integrity – not compromising on moral or financial issues, relating correctly to authority, having high standards in relationships, personal responsibility and ownership. As people hold firm to biblical standards they will not be influenced by society’s diminishing values. Consequently they will have a consistent, lasting testimony that is in contrast to those who just ‘go with the flow’ of those around them.

Problems result when principles are neglected or violated. Do not sellout or go back on your principles and rules of conduct – know what you believe and hold to them, regardless of the ridicule and pressure to bend. The three Hebrew men said, “Our God is able to save us. But even if He doesn’t we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan 3:18). They were resolute in their convictions and stand. If we live by the Spirit, not by the demands of the flesh nature, we can also remain faithful (Rom 8:4,5,13; Col 3:5; Tit 2:11,12).

Principles are broad guidelines rather than specific rules. For example, training children to live rightly so they will continue in that pathway generally holds true but there may be exceptions (Prov 22:6).

The training of young children needs to start with rules until they mature sufficiently to understand principles.

See also: character, compromise, integrity, lifestyle, self-discipline, standards, values.