What is Your Worldview?

Worldview

Is Christian your default status? To put it another way, do you identify as a “Christian” simply because other options such as Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist don’t apply?

There’s a significant difference between self-identifying as a Christian—even if you attend church—and actually being a Christian. As the adage says, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.”

So how do you determine if you’re a default Christian? Becoming a Christian involves more than walking an aisle or saying a formulaic prayer. It’s more than attending church Christmas and Easter, or even every Sunday.

  • Being a Christian means that you take God at His Word.
  • That you understand sin separates you from a holy God.
  • Knowing you can do nothing to pay for that sin yourself.
  • That you understand God paid for your sin by sacrificing His Son, Jesus—fully God and fully man—in your place.
  • That His substitutionary death paid the full price to restore you to your heavenly Father.
  • And that He has given you the indwelling Presence of His Holy Spirit to give you eternal life.

Being a Christian means your life is not your own. You were bought with a price and your desire is to live the rest of your life in gratitude to God for what He has done.

But what about your worldview?

Christian Worldview

A worldview is the filter through which we evaluate the world around us. It influences our beliefs and our choices. And especially in our western culture today, the Christian worldview is under intentional attack.

We hear it all the time:

  • God? Belief in a deity is a crutch used by superstitious people.
  • The Bible? A relic for ignorant people left over from ancient times.
  • Creation? A mythical account believed by uneducated people.
  • Jesus? A person who may or may not have actually lived, but at best was only a man.

Problem is, these incessant attacks on the Christian faith begin to influence us in ways we may not even realize. And the result can easily compromise our Christian worldview.

For example, Christians often buy into the lie that it’s okay to believe “that Bible stuff” as long as we keep it to ourselves. Or that you can still be a Christian without believing in the Genesis account of creation. And believing in Jesus is fine if you understand that His teachings are what restored us to God, not His death and resurrection.

But without a biblical Christian worldview, our faith is gutted.

  • Rejecting the Genesis account of creation empowers humanity to avoid accountability to their Creator.
  • Accepting that Jesus was just a good, human teacher dismisses the justice of a holy God whose righteousness requires a payment for sin by One who is sinless.
  • Believing the lie of evolution enables us to ignore the killing of unborn babies in the name of the right to privacy because they’re just “clumps of cells.”
  • And keeping the good news of salvation to ourselves requires us to stand idly by, watching lost people race down the highway to damnation, their choices cementing eternal separation from the One who offers love and life.

All too often, Christians sit on the proverbial fence, intimidated about publicly espousing a biblical worldview, yet knowing the worldview of our culture fails to honor God. But, in reality, there is no fence. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30 NASB).

What is your worldview?


The Prayer of Jabez and Me

Do you remember hearing about the prayer of Jabez?

When Bruce Wilkinson’s book, The Prayer of Jabez, was published 17 years ago, it took the Christian community by storm. Quickly propelled to the bestseller lists, it encouraged Christians to daily pray the prayer of an obscure man found in I Chronicles 4:9-10. In fact, that’s the only place in the Bible where this man—or his prayer—is mentioned:

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked” (ESV).

I’ve been praying my version of this prayer daily since I first learned of it by personalizing Jabez’s words. Here’s what I ask my heavenly Father for each day:

Your blessing as You define it…

Some Christians today limit focus their definition of blessing on material provisions. I hear Christians say things such as:

  • The Bible says God wants us to prosper (III John 1:2).
  • God wants His children to have an abundant life (John 10:10). He doesn’t want His children to be poor.”
  • “Though He was rich He became poor so that we might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9).

Of course, God is not against wealth. But nowhere in the Bible is material wealth His priority for His children. If anything, material comforts often get in the way of His process to conform us to the image of Christ. God is more concerned with wealth that will last for eternity. Spiritual growth. The fruit of the Spirit. And the most valuable provision He has already given us is the gift of salvation—a restored relationship with Him.

So when it comes to asking for blessing, I’d rather leave the definition to Him.

Your use as You decide it…

Jabez prayed for victory to expand his territory. I don’t know what territory God has for me. Is it to be a greater influence in my family, church, or social circles? Is it to teach His Word? To publish books?

Of course, I have hopes and dreams regarding how God might use me in the future. But I never want those desires to prevent me from recognizing how God wants to use me today. Whatever He decides is fine by me!

Your leading as You provide it…

Over the years, I’ve watched many Christian leaders shipwreck themselves on the rocks of their own grand plans for larger ministries and media empires. God’s plan for them might have been to toil in obscurity, but that wasn’t their plan for themselves.

I can strategize and I can plan. But without the Lord’s leading, my ideas may not be His plans for me. I need to trust Him to direct me onto a straight path (Proverbs 3:6). The Bible often speaks of our “walk” with God. Walking with someone requires that we move in the same direction and at the same pace. I don’t ever want to run ahead of God or lag behind Him!

And that You would keep me from both giving and receiving pain.

Jabez prayed for protection from harm and pain. Some scholars believe this verse can also be translated to mean that he was asking to be kept from giving pain to others.

I know, from experience, the pain caused by other people. Betrayal. Insensitivity. Negligence. Temptation. But I also know that I’ve caused pain, too. How can I pray for protection from pain if I’m not willing to pray that God would keep me from causing it?

So, my personalized prayer of Jabez is:

Heavenly Father, I ask for today:
Your blessing as You define it,
Your use as You decide it,
Your leading as You provide it,
And that You would keep me from both giving and receiving pain, harm, and temptation.

The results have been amazing as I “lean not on my own understanding” but instead acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty in every area of life!

What are your thoughts about the prayer of Jabez?


Broken or Brokenness?

broken or brokenness

 

I’m a broken person. I’m also someone who desires to live in a state of brokenness. Broken or brokenness? They may sound the same, but the difference in my life is huge.

During a recent lunch with a friend, she mentioned a book she was reading on brokenness. Although I have not read the book, our conversation challenged me to consider brokenness in my own life.

Our world and its inhabitants are broken. Hurting. Seeking something better, even if they don’t know what that “something better” is.

Most would agree that being broken is not a good thing. It’s the result of deciding we can live a better life apart from a relationship with our Creator. But God did not create us to live apart from Him. And we can see the results of this willful independence everywhere we look. In people. In values and relationships. Even in the weather.

When something is broken, it no longer functions as it should. In our disposable culture, broken things end up in the trash. But in God’s economy, He takes broken people and doesn’t just fix them, He makes them brand new through faith in Jesus Christ.

broken or brokennessSo, I’m no longer broken in the sense that I deserve nothing but to be discarded. I’m now able to accomplish the purpose for which I was created. But the only way I can move forward is in a state of brokenness.

Brokenness is a continuing posture of humility and dependence on the One who created and saved me. It’s an accurate view of myself in the light of who God is. One of the best descriptions of brokenness I’ve found is in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
~ Matthew 5:3-12 ESV

Or consider these verses:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” ~ Isaiah 57:15 ESV

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians 2:20 ESV

“Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ~ James 4:6 ESV

Total dependence on the Holy Spirit of God. Trusting His leading. Obeying His Word. The result is not just a repair of my broken self to be usable again. The result is that I become more valuable than I was before.

A while ago, I wrote a blog post describing the 15th century Japanese practice of Kintsugi. This practice mixes gold dust with lacquer or resin to repair cracks in pottery. Instead of hiding the cracks, Kintsugi celebrates the repair, redeeming the pottery and actually increases its value.

This is what God does with a broken person. He redeems and increases the value of each person who relies on Him. In our brokenness, the cracks are still visible, but now they are made beautiful by His touch.

I am broken no longer. But I embrace the brokenness that allows His grace to work in and through me for His glory.


What about you? Are you broken—destined for the trash heap?
Or are you living in a state of brokenness—of incalculable value to the One who redeemed you for His glory?


Next Page »