Foundations for a Christian Worldview: First Things (3)
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? Ecclesiastes 3.9
A worldview framework
We’re considering a framework for thinking about worldview that will allow us to get our hands around this very big concept and begin to shape and live it more purposefully and fruitfully. Once we have established a framework, we can begin looking into the Law of Moses to discover what it reveals about the footprint of a Christian worldview.
We’re using a triangle to guide this part of our study, and we said we would allow the left leg of the triangle to serve for the idea of vision. Every worldview unfolds toward some vision of ultimate truth and goodness. The clearer and more compelling our worldview vision, the more likely we will be to live passionately toward it. Put in Solomon’s terms, the vision of what we hope to gain as profit will guide our labors each day.
Living toward our worldview is a matter of time, and what we do with it. Time is a gift from God, and Christians are called to make the best use of this gift (Eph. 5.15-17), to live in the wisdom of God. Making good use of our time involves such things as making plans, setting goals, mastering certain skills, monitoring our activities, reviewing our time, and so forth.
Effective use of the time of our lives comes down to discipline. Many people go through life like a pinball, shot on to the gameboard at some point in the past, they careen through experiences with no particular focus, except to try to rack up a good score before finally going down the hole. People who live this way often feel as though their lives are out of control, or that making progress is not as important as just getting by.
But Christians cannot live this way. Making the best use of the gift of time requires that we apply ourselves diligently to each moment of our time and whatever fills it, to seek the wisdom and glory of God in all we do.
And this means having in place the kind of disciplines that will allow us to make steady progress toward our worldview vision.
As our vision of the good life becomes firmly fixed in our minds, we will take up whatever disciplines are necessary in order to gain that vision. Disciplines constitute the second (right) leg of our worldview triangle.
We must not make the mistake of thinking of disciplineas somehow only referring to punishment. Living a disciplined life is what disciples do, and the disciplines by which you live will reveal the focus of your discipleship, what you’re living for or toward, what sort of profit you’re seeking, or what you’re hoping to achieve. Every worldview prescribes a raft of disciplines which adherents must master in order to make progress toward their vision of the good life. Those disciplines are of various kinds. What disciplines do for us, in essence, is enable us to structure the time of our lives to that we are always oriented toward and (hopefully) making progress toward realizing the good life we seek, through the various labors we undertake.
So, for example, in the secular and materialist worldview, the most important disciplines might be something like get an education and get a job. Finishing a course toward a diploma, certificate, or degree, and then getting the job we want, and doing well in it, require mastery of certain disciplines. We have to work for what we want, and education helps to prepare us for the best possible job, which will allow us to gain more of the material benefits we seek. Profit (vision): material wellbeing; Labors (disciplines): learning and work.
Christians and disciplines
Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ. He calls us to His Kingdom and glory, to seek these as the commanding goal and perspective in everything we do (1 Thess. 2.12). The Christian’s hope is that we might realize more of the glory of God – experiencemore of it and expressmore of it in our daily lives (Rom. 5.1, 2; 2 Cor. 3.12-18; 1 Cor. 10.31), so that the knowledge of God and His glory increases throughout our sphere of influence.
Thus, Christians need to have in place a repertoire of disciplines that will allow us to lay hold on our time, our eye firmly fixed on some aspect of our worldview vision, and make the most of that time for making progress toward that vision (cf. Ps. 90.12, 16, 17). The labors we embrace are the disciplines that will allow us consistently to gain the profit of knowing Christ and His Kingdom and glory.
In the Christian life, a wide variety of disciplines are necessary, disciplines that will enable us to keep up a vibrant spiritual life, to show the love of God to the people around us, do all our work as unto the Lord and not men, fulfill our role in the Christian community, and deal with temptations and trials that might interrupt or set us back in our progress within and toward the Kingdom.
If you’re not a person who likes disciplines, you’re going to have a difficult time fulfilling your Kingdom-and-glory calling in the Lord. Making the most of our time is full time work, and we must be prepared to seek the wisdom of God for all the time of our lives by learning and mastering the disciplines that will allow us to glorify God and dwell in His joy at all times. The profit of a joyful Kingdom life only comes through the labor of Christian disciplines.
Every worldview has disciplines, and the particular raft of disciplines we take up will depend on our visionof the good life, what and how clear and compelling it is. Like that vision, disciplines can be acquired, assessed, and adjusted as necessary to keep us on track for the good life as we envision it.
But we need to have some benchmarks by which to determine that our disciplines are actually helping us make progress in our worldview. And here is where we need to be clear about the day-by-day outcomes which indicate progress in living our Christian worldview.
1. Everyone lives by certain disciplines – routines, practices, ways of working and relating, and so forth. But how can we know which disciplines are the ones we need to live a Christian worldview?
2. How are disciplines related to time? What do we mean by the idea of “wasting” time? How can proper discipline help us to avoid that?
3. Meditate on Psalm 90.12, 16, 17. How do these verses from Moses teach us to think about time and discipline? What is the ultimate objective?
Next steps – Preparation: Make a list of all the disciplines you consciously engage in each day. Are these sufficient to help you make progress in the Kingdom of God?
The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here.
At The Ailbe Seminary, all our courses are designed to help you grow in your Christian worldview. Watch this brief video (click here) to get an overview of our curriculum, and to see again the place of Jesus in the Christian worldview.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.