Foundations for a Christian Worldview: First Things (4)
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7.20
“You Are Here”
We see those signs in many places. Airports, large shopping malls, university campuses, even on our GPS. They tell us where we are at any given time, and from that, we can determine where we need to go.
Put another way, those “You Are Here” signs represent the outcomesof our efforts or journey thus far. And, since in large places like airports, malls, and university campuses – not to mention cross-country treks – we can sometimes become lost or disoriented, those signs can be most helpful and reassuring.
Every worldview has its own set of “You Are Here” indicators. They tell us where we are in our worldview – whether we are realizing any of our vision; how well our disciplines are working; and even what we need to do next to keep making progress in life.
These “You Are Here” signs are the various outcomes that serve as benchmarks in our daily lives, to let us know whether and to what extent we are moving any closer to those ultimate truths and goods by which we are laboring to gain the profit we seek. Every worldview has such indicators, and everyone who hopes to make progress in living a consistent and profitable worldview will keep one eye on those outcomes at all times.
The third (bottom) leg of our worldview triangle represents the outcomes evident in our lives as indicators that we are or are not making progress toward our vision of the good life.
The outcomes by which we measure progress in our lives will differ according to our worldview vision and the disciplines we embrace for daily living. The benchmarks of a successful day for a secularist will not be the same as those of a consistent Hindu. They may overlap in some ways, but the real definition of them will differ markedly.
The same is true of the Christian worldview. If we hope to measure our progress in realizing our Kingdom-and-glory calling by the benchmarks of a secular worldview – or any other worldview – we’re going to be disappointed. We may feel happy about the benchmarks we have achieved each day, but if they’re not the kind of outcomes prescribed by a Christian vision, they’re not going to help us much in our calling as disciples.
Vision, disciplines, outcomes
For our worldview to be consistent, we need to have a clear vision, to take up the right disciplines, and to look for those appropriate daily indicators that will assure us we’re on the right path.
Vision prescribes the disciplines we embrace, and those disciplinesgenerate the outcomes that bring our worldview to life, and show we’re on track toward our vision. As we discipline our lives in various ways, that discipline shapes the way we think, how we feel, what we value as top priorities, and what we determine to say or do. The actions that come out in our lives – what we’re calling outcomes – are the product of the disciplines to which we have submitted over time. If the outcomes are not what we expect, we can adjust our disciplines or sharpen the focus of our vision, or both. But the outcomes are all-important if worldview is to be anything other than a merely intellectual exercise. By the fruits that come out in our lives, we can determine the worldview by which we are living.
We demonstrate what matters to us – our vision – by the ways, for example, we spend our money and use our time, as well as the things we talk about with most interest and enthusiasm. The outcomes a secular or materialist seeks relate to acquiring and enjoying material possessions and experiences. In a narcissistic age such as ours, these tend to be rather self-centered outcomes, answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Of course, the person holding to this worldview is not averse to sharing his outcomes with others, especially those he loves, because this increases the material happiness he seeks. In the main, such a person’s goal in life, and the indicators that tell him he is reaching his goal, are realized in terms of things and circumstances.
Words and deeds
Outcomes take the form of words and deeds. How and what we talk about, what we do and how we do it: These are the “profit” – the overflow – that issues from our worldview vision and the disciplines we labor at in pursuit of that vision. The outcomes allow us to realize a measure of our vision, and they tell us whether we are on track for a greater measure of that vision in the days to come.
Thus, it is pretty important that we determine which outcomes we should be expecting to see in our lives each day. If we don’t know what the outcomes of our worldview should be, then any old outcomes will do, but we won’t make any progress toward our vision. If we embrace outcomes that are too small for our vision, we may make progress, but it will be tortoise-like and unsatisfactory, and we may be tempted to ratchet down our vision or compromise our disciplines in response. The effect of this may well be to stymie our outcomes even more.
Outcomes take many forms and expressions. Ultimately, as I have said, they boil down to what we do and what we say, deeds and words. Thus, we should be able toplan and prepare for certain outcomes each day – what we will say and do, and how we will say and do it; and we should be able to reflect on or review those activities, once they are complete, to determine the extent to which what we said or did actually fulfilled what we had planned. This is what the apostle Paul describes as walking “circumspectly” (Eph. 5.15).
And to make sure those outcomes are in line with our vision, we’ll need to do some serious thinking and – for the Christian at least – searching of Scripture, praying, and learning about the outcomes that are consistent with our vision of Christ and His Kingdom.
The outcomes of our worldview are visible in everything we do, since everything we do is the result of what we seek and how we seek it. Christian outcomes are those that tend to bring out the glory of God, even in the small stuff and everyday situations of our lives (1 Cor. 10.31). And as we shall see, these outcomes can be summarized in two categories: love for God and love for our neighbors.
1. How important are outcomes to worldview living? Explain.
2. How should a Christian pray and prepare for outcomes consistent with a Christian vision?
3. Can we achieve consistent and fruitful Christian outcomes apart from consistent and fruitful Christian disciplines? Explain.
Next steps – Transformation: How do you pray and prepare for daily outcomes consistent with your calling to the Kingdom and glory of God? Can you see any way to improve in this?
T. M. Moore
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.
If you value ReVision as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.