In NEED of a Compass!!

February 22, 2018

Much like a compass that points us in a certain direction, we, as human beings must have an internal compass, or what I call a 'true North' that helps guide us in everyday life, with everyday decisions. This new idea in America that 'what we believe has no ultimate effect on our society' is at the heart of all of our sociological issues as a country. In the wake of the most recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida we are again bombarded by media messages calling on more gun control, deeper and more intense background checks, and yes, even shaming and blaming Presidents and politicians and anyone and everything else except taking an introspective look at ourselves individually and collectively as a nation of people, who, either knowingly or unknowingly, have lost their moral and idealogical compass.

 

First, heartfelt prayer and sympathies to all who have been affected; parents, students, teachers, emergency services workers and the community. I pray God's Spirit comforts you, consoles you, and reveals himself at every turn on your grief journey to healing and wholeness. At the end of this heart wrenching tragedy stands a myriad of future decisions that bring about questions: What needs to change?  Is it US? Or Maybe it is God?..is he irrelevant, or can he even help us since his ways seem so archaic?

 

We have talk show hosts that insist the Vice President is 'mentally ill' because he espouses his Christian faith in part by reading and listening to Jesus as his compass and guide post.

 

Piers Morgan, talk show host of 'Piers Tonight' on CNN's Townhall interviewed Joel Osteen, and in his response to Joel stated:[4]

"Shouldn't Scripture be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age?" 

"Not everything in scripture is conducive to modern life."

Well, the truth is that much of our human lives consist of encountering truth claims that involve connecting existing knowledge with new knowledge, and then encountering new truth claims of one kind or another. So, Is God irrelevant now? Should He update His word to us? As a Pastor and a Christian leader it seems as though we, as a people surely want God to something? Don't we? Do morals matter? Are we only a Christian Nation when we pray in schools, at civic meetings, or hold national days of prayer, or win a Super Bowl? We have so many questions, and rightfully so - however, I would suggest that life in any society is based and rooted in what we believe - collectively and individually.

 

To be sure, our concrete experiences couple together with new experiences which determines much of how we see the world, in our families, neighborhoods, schools and places of employment. So, how much attention should we pay to what we say we believe? Is it really that important? The answer is yes, and we should be conscious of what we believe and why we believe it, what I am talking about here is what is called a 'Worldview'. 

 

We should be critical of what we believe as it relates to how we live and move in the world. As a Christian this issue is essential to life. Why? Because our worldview is the framework of ideas and beliefs through which we as individuals interpret the world and interact within it every day. As a Christian, if I am not conscious of my worldview I can send contradictory messages to people, my family, friends, church members, society and co-workers, just to name a few.

 

So what? How does this affect a country? And what does this have to do with the issues we see happening, like Parkland, or any other cultural situation? For one, we have, as a nation, become very complacent and comfortable about being tolerant of everyones view on everything. Now, regardless of belief I am not advocating for any mistreatment of anyone, regardless of beliefs or values. What I am saying here is:

 

 When we can continually see ourselves through God’s eyes we have the ability to live out our beliefs without contradiction, and that can change families, neighborhoods, cities and a Nation.

           

The American dream leads people to believe that their life and worldview is a story about themselves. In a Christian worldview, we discover that this is not what God had in mind. What he wants is for us to find that life, (yes our individual lives) - our not our own. We are a part of God’s story, from the beginning of creation, through the fall and distortion of man, the redemptive act of God and finally up to and including the consummation of Christ’s kingdom - we are playing a part in His story. For me, this broad picture of how life works gives me a sense of purpose and understanding about life.

           

Our lives are not lived out in a vacuum. We participate and interact with others, such as the people in our families, people at work and everyone who we consider friends. There is a sense of structure and order to life as it relates to living it out with people each day. We must also remember that as we live - our lives take a particular direction.  For example, in my marriage I can love my wife as Christ loves the, or I can love my wife as I feel she should be loved. Clearly one could say that loving my wife as Christ would is keeping within a cultural framework that is good and healthy, for me, for her and for my children.  The same can be said of how I live in respect to every other area as well, whether it is at school, with my peers and teachers, or at work towards my boss. 

 

In a biblical worldview everything is subject to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not my own will and desires, but God’s will and desire drive and determine how I live and relate with others. [2]

           

So, what role does this worldview play and how does it function? The answer to this, I believe, is that our worldview functions like a compass [1].  A compass tells us where we are, and if we are headed in a direction that we want to go. We make decisions every day that direct us one way or the other, closer to the place where we want to go, or away from where we want to go. For example, as a Christian I must make certain decisions about my life’s direction. My decisions are based largely around scripture, my prayer life and direction from the Holy Spirit. My relationship to scripture is what shapes my worldview. What is your compass? Do you have one? What is our Nations compass? Honestly, as a leader I am concerned that we do not have a compass, and if we do it certainly isn't taking us anywhere any of us wants to go - is it?

 

The Christian faith involves a worldview that is an interpretive framework for creating understanding and making sense of all reality.

 

As Christians we confess that the scriptures have the authority of God, which is supreme over everything else – over public opinion, over education, over child-rearing, over the media, and in short over all the powerful agencies in our culture by which our worldview is constantly being shaped [1]. At one time, there was little question to this understanding and predominant worldview, because it was a cultural norm. Whether you agree or disagree is a mute point, the reality is that, as a nation of people we prescribed to a worldview derived from the Bible as its moral and ethical source.  The bible informed our society in a minimum of three ways: 1.) our lives mattered and actually had purpose, 2.) that our purpose was, at least in part, to protect ALL life, and regard with high value the nuclear family as the center of community life by caring enough about our neighbor to engage them in love, and finally 3.) we were at least unselfish enough and 'other centered' enough as a people that we knew our morals and ethics could help others throughout the world. We loved others, we SERVED others, we cared - and in some obscure way we gave away a hope that very few other people in the world seemed to have.

 

So, what went wrong?  Why do we have so many struggles and why are there so many problems? Many of us wonder how it is that God could be perfect but yet we, as His creation, live in an imperfect world where very imperfect things happen around us all the time.  The bad news is that humanity is imperfect because of sin. Sin separates us from God who created us to love and worship him, and it separates us from each other by destroying relationships - and at its basic level sin can be defined as - a worship of ourselves and our own desires verses the desires of God. So, without a worldview that gives us a compass that points us to find our 'true north' in God and HIs word we self-destruct, and self-destroy every area of societal life, not instantly - but slowly over time we end up arriving at a destination that was never intended, and certainly never preferred.

 

The good news is that  God has been at work through Jesus to redeem, restore and reconcile his creation to himself. This “buy back” program was accomplished by Jesus Christ, God’s only son. A biblical world view of redemption is critical if we are to understand the depth of his plan in Jesus Christ to “buy our freedom” and “release us from the bondage” of self. The remedy God provided for the world (yes - including America) came through one man, the God man Jesus Christ. The bible tells us in the Gospel of John:

 

 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son”

John3:16-18 (NIV).

 

The redemptive work of God’s Son Jesus Christ impacts all of creation, every human on earth and everything in creation. Adam, our first father distorted and corrupted “all” of God’s creation, not just humanity. The impact of the fall is much deeper than our human condition, it affected everything in God’s created world. The impact Christ has is a restorative one, the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth through his son, the needs of each person on earth have been addressed by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Our first and greatest need as a people is to be “reconciled” to our creator. God has provided for us salvation and reconciliation through one man, Jesus Christ. Our second greatest need is for us to be reconciled to each other so that we, as a people, can regain Christ's image that can inform the way we live with each other, which will give us a compass that points to ' a true North' and a preferred destination. 

 

For me this issue has been and is settled, because Jesus Christ is not only my savior, but He is my Lord. A biblical worldview and Christian faith leaves no option other than that which claims all of life to be lived out in reference and subjection to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Peace, happiness, joy, fulfillment, morals and purpose cannot be legislated - those whose belief is in some way rooted in a worldview espoused by the Bible, and all its implications, can frame a society that reflects the attributes of its creator and sustainer Jesus Christ!

 

When our first response to all of our human problems is always to blame things on something other than our sinful selfish condition we go around and around in circles chasing after every human solution to a problem that is within ourselves - sin- and all that sin brings in the form of corruption of humanity which can only be remedied by Jesus! 

 

HIS word, HIS power, HIS sacrifice, HIS Spirit is the beginning solution to all of our human struggles, ailments and problems!

 

Who we say Jesus is in reference to our culture will determine everything about our life in America. It will determine not only how we live, but how we see and respond to every issue humanity faces.

 

May God bless and keep us as we find our compass - so we can find our way 'truly North'!

 

Grace and Peace, 

PF

 

Bibliography

[1] Wolters, Albert M. (2005). Creation Regained. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[2] Keller, timothy. (2011). King’s Cross. New York:Dutton.

[3] The NIV Bible. (2005). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan

[4] The issue in the video revolves around homosexuality - the intent here is to expound on the quote as it relates to morality in our current context. https://youtu.be/ME-wEa8_-gM

No intention to endorse Piers Morgan or Joel Osteen's philosophy or theology is expressed or intended.

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