Beck is a pretty amazing guy. He’s been a performer since the mid-80s and has become a national figure. He has had a hugely successful radio career as well as highly rated shows on CNN and Fox News, and has now started his own tv news station called The Blaze. He has multiple albums on Rolling Stone’s “Top 500 Albums of All Time” list. He is a New York Times Bestselling Author, and has reached #1 on that list in 4 different book categories. He even has 5 Grammy Awards, including 2015 Album of the Year, which is different than Record of the Year somehow.
Wait, what? Those are two different people? Huh…
So Glenn Beck is a pretty controversial guy. A conservative political commentator with strong Libertarian-leaning views, he presents what his radio show calls “the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment.” I don’t listen to the program regularly, but when I’ve got some time I will tune in. I don’t always agree with him but he often has some insights that I appreciate. His show from Friday (3/6/15) had a clip that got my attention.
National principles. We don’t torture. National principles. We don’t spy on Americans. National principles. Our interests say, “We’ve got to torture.” Our principles say “no.”
While he is talking politics here, I think the distinction between “principles” and “interests” is an important one for of us. What are your guiding principles? What have you chosen as a guiding concept and commitment for your life? If you find yourself acing in a way that is more in line with your interests – what is best for you – than your principles – what you believe to be good and right – you have a problem. We are not called to act in our best interests, we are called to love and serve others.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
–Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
When we live on principle, we sacrifice. We don’t always get what we want or think we deserve. By some standards of success, we fail. However, when we live on principle, we don’t evaluate our lives by money or power or our standing before others, we evaluate our lives based on the love we give and receive and on how God views our lives and our actions. We ask ourselves, “Am I doing the right thing?” Sometimes this is a very complicated question to ask. Sometimes it’s very easy. And often times it is much easier than we want to pretend it is. Usually living on principle means doing things the hard way instead of taking the easy way out.
If we lived on principle, our lives would be more difficult, but they would be more rewarding and more impactful on the world around us. Think about what would happen if our businesses, churches, organizations, and our nation began operating with the conviction that they would do what is right, not just was is easy or profitable? The world would be a very different place.