No need for ethics reform when Christ leads your heart

Published 3:21 pm Monday, January 17, 2011

By DARRYL WOOD / Guest Columnist

What do you read into the presence of Boy Scouts at the Governor’s signing ceremony for the new Alabama ethics legislation? Perhaps that organization’s squeaky clean reputation becomes the worthy goal for Alabama leaders.

Or possibly those youngsters will be the long-term beneficiaries of tougher ethics laws.

The response of most Alabamians to these reforms? “It’s about time.” Ethics, a set of moral principles that establishes the rightness or wrongness of a person’s actions or motives, should be held by all persons.

Even though I favor the ethics reform laws wholeheartedly, they fail to be the best solution to the moral problems of Alabama.

The prime mover behind a person’s ethics is what owns the heart. A state legal code cannot get the heart’s attention for long.

People answer to a number of faulty prime movers.

Some get so wrapped up in money that greed motivates them. Others crave power and will do anything to achieve it. Popularity drives some folks. And vocational success dominates many. Attempts to satisfy those flawed prime movers results in short-circuited ethics.

One ethical system trumps those defective prime movers.

Jesus Christ established that system. The Apostle Paul adopted those ethics for his life. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17)

When Christ guides your motives and actions, other prime movers lose their luster. As you submit to His authority, He indwells your heart and replaces those substandard motivators. The result? A new ethic.

With great appreciation for my Boy Scout heritage, Jesus can do things for you that the Boy Scouts cannot. So “be prepared” for a new year by making Christ the prime mover of your heart.

The Rev. Darryl Wood is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vincent. Contact him at