During my time in the U.S. Air Force, I became well accustomed to understanding and seeking to live out the official Core Values of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.” These values are instilled in Airmen on their first day of Basic Training and preached continually both in the workplace and in the war zone. Although these attributes can be viewed in a secular context, it is important to note that they all maintain a foundation that goes much deeper than modern philosophical thought. The Scriptures attach these values to a source beyond ourselves and even our ability to perfectly keep them. As these values are derived from God, they should be carefully considered by Christian leaders in that they reflect the character of Christ who has absolute integrity, sacrificed Himself to save others while living a perfect or “excellent” life. Consider the following verses in this light:

Integrity First

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (Prov 10:9)

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity… (Titus 2:7)

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (Prov 11:3)

Service Before Self

And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:44-45)

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Pet 4:10)

Excellence in All We Do

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might… (Eccl 9:10)

As Christian leaders, we can and should embrace the Core Values of the Air Force as they reflect the perfect servant-leader, Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore, walk in integrity, serve others, and “do all for the glory of God.”

-Soli Deo Gloria

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