2.7 | a Kingdom worldview
II | WORLDVIEWS
Someone is going to teach each of us to wake up. Will it be Jesus? Or someone else?
As a reminder, no one is a natural at thriving within the Kingdom. It is completely foreign to all of us, and we need God’s help to understand what it means to be a citizen. What does God’s word teach us that this Kingdom is? This is a Kingdom that starts with challenge and conviction. It shows us where we have failed and gives us direction to change our ways and move forward. It asks each of us to examine ourselves and work hard on being better. God speaks to us through his word and through the guiding of the Holy Spirit. The goal is not to get us to keep believing. The goal is to get us to live a certain kind of lifestyle, guided by a certain worldview that sees Jesus’ Kingdom come to earth through the way that we live. Jesus says it himself in Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
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The Kingdom of light requires good deeds—actions according to the edicts, rules, and proclamations of the king of the Kingdom.
It may be easy for those who are Christians to say they have already adopted a Kingdom worldview, as if it was absorbed by osmosis. According to the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, as of 2021, 51% of Americans claim to hold a biblical worldview. This is down from 65% in 2011 and 73% in 1981. These are people who self-identified as having a biblical worldview.
After self-identifying their worldview, respondents were then asked a series of 51 questions related to the existence of absolute moral truth, biblical accuracy, Satan’s existence, morality, Jesus’ life, God, and the application of beliefs.
In spite of 51% of Americans claiming to hold a biblical worldview, just 6% of Americans actually do when surveyed based on their conduct.
Only one-fifth of those attending evangelical Protestant churches (21%) have a biblical worldview, as compared to one-sixth of those attending charismatic or Pentecostal churches (16%). The study finds even smaller proportions in mainline Protestant (8%) or Catholic (1%) churches.
The number of American adults holding a biblical worldview has declined by 50% over the past quarter century.
Regarding the youngest adult generation, the numbers are even more startling. A mere 2% of those 18 to 29 years old possess a biblical worldview. (Source)
A Kingdom worldview doesn’t happen because we consider ourselves moral beings. A Kingdom worldview doesn’t happen just because we believe in Jesus. A Kingdom worldview doesn’t happen because we go to church or Bible study. What makes a Kingdom worldview happen? First, invasion. In this step, we decide that we are going to follow Jesus and live in accordance with his teachings. Second, annexation. With annexation, we demonstrate behavior in accordance with the teaching and life of Jesus that proves our citizenship in his Kingdom.
Feeling spiritual is irrelevant. Church attendance will get us nowhere. What we must do is hear God’s perspective and allow it to change us into entirely new beings.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” // Romans 12:2
I’m not talking about listening to more Christian music or finding a new preacher to follow. I’m talking about getting into God’s word for ourselves and allowing it to transform our thoughts, attitudes and actions. Your primary source cannot be anyone else's interpretation or message—mine included. The only way for you to get God’s perspective, the only way to understand the governance, leadership and culture of the Kingdom, is to read it for yourself. Start in the book of John. Read the whole New Testament. Then read the Old Testament.
How does the Kingdom answer these questions?
Who are we?
Made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27)
What is our fundamental problem?
Sin (Romans 3:23)
What is the solution to that problem?
Jesus’ gift of grace (Romans 5:8)
What is our primary moral duty?
Repentance and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32)
How should we live?
The Great Commandment and the Great Commission (Matthew 22:34-40, Matthew 28:18-20)
Who are we? A Kingdom worldview shows us that we are all unique and made in God’s image.
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” // Genesis 1:27
What is our problem? A Kingdom worldview shows us that the main issue we face is our personal sin. The primary problem that confronts society is that all of us are born flawed, fallen, and broken. There’s not one of us that isn’t.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” // Romans 3:23
What is the solution to that problem? Jesus’ gift of grace. We don’t deserve it, but God gives us the choice to be in relationship with him. He allows the consequences of our sins, our flaws and failings, the depraved parts of us, to be washed away through the gift of Jesus' sacrifice.
What is our duty? Repentance and forgiveness. Just like Jesus gave us his grace, he asks us to do the same thing: forgiveness of others with no exceptions, and repentance for ourselves so that we can be forgiven by Jesus with no exceptions.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. // Ephesians 4:32
How should we live? According to what I will call the “two Greats”: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
The Great Commandment:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” // Matthew 22:34-40
The Great Commission:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” // Matthew 28:18-20
A lot of Christians know the two greats. They can repeat them by heart. It’s important to know these things. However, knowledge doesn’t do much for us without application. Despite our familiarity with biblical concepts, belief and teaching, we take in a lot of information that shapes our worldview. We watch TV, we read the news, we follow certain people on social media, we read books and do all kinds of information gathering throughout our life. Too many Christians think they have a biblical worldview because of their religious activity. They go to church, attend a bible study, and do all kinds of “Christian activities”. However, they spend much more time with culture than they do at church, or doing these activities. Therefore, their worldview is often shaped by culture by default. They know what scripture says, but there’s a disconnect between their knowledge and action. Why is this? Because our worldview can be complicated. It can be informed by our personality, preferences, life experiences, culture, education, environment and more. We all have a worldview, mostly by default.
It is plain to see that Christians and non-Christians have a lot in common regarding worldview. Specifically, they don’t have a biblical one. The unfortunate thing for most Christians is that they think they do. However, their worldview is not Biblical, it’s cultural. So they hear about cultural issues and their response is in line with their preferred political or cultural ideology. That’s much different than responding based on an intentionally considered worldview. So, how can we begin to consider our worldview? There’s one question we can ask when taking in content, information and entertainment. That is, what worldview does this originate from?
Is it bad to read or hear a different worldview, one that is not a Kingdom worldview? Should we instead all go build a Jesus-only echo chamber? Not at all. We must always educate ourselves and participate in the culture in which we live. But we must remember that we are not citizens of this world; we are sent as ambassadors of our Kingdom. “Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world” (John 17:18). We’re not just supposed to participate in culture, we are supposed to represent and promote a Kingdom worldview within the culture we live in.
Remember, Ephesians 5 tells us to wake up and understand what God wants us to do. No one else. Not a pastor, teacher, boss, or pundit. Not a leader of a social movement who wants us to boycott Target because of their bathroom policy. Or to not visit Starbucks because they don’t say “Merry Christmas.” The Bible is what God wants us to know and do. Everything else is ancillary. Most of us who were boycotting Target or Starbucks eventually forgot about it. We realized we might have to go to Wal-Mart or Dunkin’ instead, and we weren’t about to do that.
We all have our politics and preferences, culturally and otherwise. But those things are personal, not sacred. A worldview must be bigger than who gets to use which bathroom or what holiday greetings to use. A Kingdom worldview is not a “part of” our identity; it should be the primary driver of everything about us.
How often do we really seek God’s perspective? In contrast, how often do we seek the perspective of something or someone else?
Return to what Paul tells us to do in Ephesians 5: Live like those who are wise. Seek to understand everything God wants us to do. That’s hard work. That means every circumstance we encounter requires us not to react but to respond. To react is to act instinctively based on feeling. To respond is to seek understanding and act in a wise way, the way of the Kingdom, regardless of what opposes us or how we feel.
Life is not a competition to see who ends up with the moral high ground. Kingdom worldview says I should spend most of my life allowing God to work on me before I point the finger at the world. After all, Jesus was the guy telling us to take the beam out of our own eye before dealing with our neighbor’s speck in Matthew 7. This isn’t a belief system to impose on others; rather, this is a lens to view your own world through.
Once I establish my worldview, I must remember that the only people that can be subject to it are me, myself and I. The same is true for all of us.
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