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  • Writer's pictureJim Hays

Seek the Things Above

We began the year seeking to have 20/20 vision for the things of God. Hard to believe that we’re now halfway through 2020 and half that time has been spent behind the four walls of our homes. Through COVID-19, Satan has thrown a monkey wrench into pretty much every aspect of life in this world. No eating out, no going to work, no going to the movies, and no going to church.

All that time in lockdown has angered people. Behaviors have become erratic, chaotic, and thoughtless. It seems clear, at least to me, that our culture has lost sight of God and is now completely focused on the things of this world. I’m wondering if some of that “worldliness” has crept into us—Christians—the body of Christ. Have we allowed the circumstances of the world to obscure our ability to see God?

This Sunday, we’re going to talk about worldview—what is real. We will compare and contrast the Secular worldview with the Christian worldview to ascertain whether a fair amount of the secular has crept into our lives and clouded the way we see Jesus.

Here is an illustration that will be part of the PowerPoint this week and I request that you spend a few minutes looking at it and then thinking about it. This comes from a theology class.

Notice that at the very center (the core) of the illustration is WHAT IS REAL. That’s our worldview. That which we see as real will be the lens through which we view everything in the world.

Then, working upward from the core, we see that WHAT IS REAL determines WHAT IS TRUE. And WHAT IS TRUE then determines WHAT IS GOOD. And finally, WHAT IS GOOD determines WHAT TO DO.

Working downward from the core, we see that Worldview determines Beliefs which determine VALUES which determine BEHAVIOR.

You can agree with that premise or not, that’s not the point. We’re going to assume that this is an accurate framework just so we have something to work with. Understand that somebody a lot smarter than I put it together and when it was taught to me at seminary, it made sense.

At the core of the secular worldview is the World. This world is reality for the secularist. The world is all there is. Therefore, what is true is that life is short. Even scripture agrees with that. James says that our life in this world is merely a vapor—here today, gone tomorrow. Life is short, so live hard! “Go for the gusto!” as the old beer ad used to say.

Because life is short, the secularist values safety, comfort, and personal happiness. And because that’s what he values, his behavior will be a dogged pursuit of safety, comfort, and happiness. He takes no risks. He refuses to get out of his comfort zone. He only participates in activities that make him happy—that fulfill his greatest longings and desires. And when circumstances get in the way of that pursuit, he responds with fear, anxiety, anger, and selfishness.

Now, let’s consider the Christian worldview. At the heart of the Christian worldview is the crucified, resurrected, and exalted Jesus. Jesus is the only reality for the Christian. Jesus is Lord—PERIOD.

Our truth is that Jesus has provided everything necessary for salvation and eternal life. Although life is short in this world, Jesus is the means for everlasting life! His death has brought justification, deliverance from sin, reconciliation with God, atonement, and redemption. His resurrection is the inaugural event of the New Creation. By virtue of our baptism (dying and rising with Christ), we are also part of the New Creation (2 Cor. 5.17). His resurrection gives hope for the resurrection of our dead bodies at the Last Day when we will receive new spiritual bodies that will never die.

Because of the truth of all Jesus has done, the Christian places great value on the glory of Christ. He is at the heart of everything! He has done everything! He alone deserves the glory!

And so, the Christian behaves in ways that glorify King Jesus. We do all we can to make Jesus look good to those with a secular worldview. And we bring honor and glory to the King most effectively when we…

· Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

· Love others more than we love ourselves.

· Serve others, even if it means getting on our knees and washing their feet or laying down our life.

Again, I’m not asking you to agree with any of this. I’m simply asking you to consider it. Think about it. Reflect on it. If we’ll do that, our time together Sunday morning will be more profitable, I think. Thanks.

Joseph has a way of seeing the hand of God in everything. Jacob? Not so much. His ability to see God has been clouded by the circumstances of the world.

Is it possible that the same thing could be said of us?

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

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