In one sense, “A Christian Worldview” is an oxymoron, for as Christians, we should have our eyes and mind both set on heaven. Having a worldview, should be altogether alien to a Christian.
The word worldview describes moral, philosophical or spiritual frameworks which enable us to interpret the world and all that we see around us. By definition, each of us has a worldview, whether we recognise it or not. But from a Christian perspective, our view should be different to non-Christians. Why should this be?
To start with, Christian worldview ought by definition to be looking heavenward, where home is and where we are to return after our pilgrimage on earth is done and we cast off these bodies of flesh. I left my country of birth 30 years ago and now choose to live elsewhere and am known as a ‘permanent resident’ in this country. That simply means I have a legal right to live here. Where I feel my “home” to be located, is another story, another choice altogether. But that feeling, the belonging, is a choice I need to make. I can dwell in the past and long to return, as many do, or I can dwell in the present with eyes toward the future. It is a choice, a decision to be made, but it is not an ‘escapist’ choice, for it is a reality, a viable and workable alternative.
The Bible tells Christians that our citizenship is not of this world. We are told by Paul in Philippians 3:20 “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” and as Hebrews 11:13 says, we are all “strangers and exiles on the earth”. Given this, we should have a different worldview to a non-Christian! Practically also, there is a reason, for we are not to gather our treasures here, but, as Jesus says in Matthew 5:12, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” Jesus goes on to further confirm this when He tells us in John 14:2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Yes, we have a place in heaven, for it was bought by His blood as He redeemed us on the cross at Calvary. Not only did Jesus purchase it for us, He has prepared it for us too! Now that, is a Servant Leader personified.
The Apostle Paul, during all his journeys, trials, tribulations on-going persecution on earth never lost sight of heaven as his final destination, as his home. In Second Corinthians 4:8-10 he says “In every way we’re troubled but not crushed, frustrated but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. We are always carrying around the death of Jesus in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus may be clearly shown in our bodies.” In v16-178 he goes on to add “That’s why we are not discouraged. No, even if our outer man is wearing out, our inner man is being renewed day by day. This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond any comparison, because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.”
It certainly seems that Paul in all his suffering found something which present day Christians have either lost or never had in the first place – a focus – a faith in that which we cannot see. Indeed, he tells us and confirms it again in Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.”
This is faith, blind faith demonstrated and recorded for us. For faith is the belief in that which cannot be seen and the acting upon that belief. In Romans 8:18, Paul is confirming clearly for us, that the “glory” has yet to “be revealed to us”. He is stepping out in faith. His whole life is acting out his faith.
Paul here is telling the same message as Peter told to the scattered and persecuted believers of the First Century Church. In First Peter 1:3-7 we read “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he has given us a new birth to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and to an inheritance kept in heaven for you that can’t be destroyed, corrupted, or changed. Through faith you are being protected by God’s power for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have to suffer various kinds of trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more valuable than gold that perishes when it is tested by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” By simple definition, both are leading lives of faith, for what they trust in, is still to be revealed.
This attitude, this dependence on faith is quite unlike most Christians today. But we are warned of this, as First John 2:15-17 tell us to “stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone persists in loving the world, the Father’s love is not in him. For everything that is in the world-the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God’s will remains forever.” This is quite strong stuff, for what the Apostle John is saying here is, put bluntly: “if you love this world, you are not a Christian!” In other words, if you live your life in this world, without cultivating and developing a deep love and understanding for heavenly things, then you will never be fit for heaven, you will never make it! Or as James, the brother of Jesus said in James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. It should not be like this, my brothers!” No, it should certainly not be like this.
Paul has told us what to do. Second Corinthians 4:8 – 5:1 says “because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal. We know that if the earthly tent we live in is torn down, we have a building in heaven that comes from God, an eternal house not built by human hands.”
Unfortunately the Church and most Christians have become very materialistic and self-indulgent and have turned away and lost our focus on heaven – they have a worldview, but no “heavenview”. Christians have been torn adrift from the biblical spiritual heavenly moorings to earthbound worldly moorings of worldliness. Indeed, a couple of generations ago, a favourite topic of sermons was “the sin of worldliness.” You’ll never hear that preached these days, the “prosperity gospel” has overtaken it.
Let us leave the last word to James, where in chapter 4 verse 4 we receive this gloriously simple word: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever desires to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Amen and Amen.