The Problem With the American Worldview
The Problem With the American (and others’) Worldview
A look at world maps
Ancient English map of the world
Current U.S. map of the world (+ in movies: always U.S. out front, always in the sun)
Ronald Reagan’s ‘worldview’
Our view of the world changes our view of ourselves
– down under map.
We laugh at this perspective as an absurd worldview yet there is really nothing absurd about it. The only thing absurd about it is that it’s not what we’re used to seeing.
This is completely true regarding our world view on many issues. Some world views appear totally absurd not because they really are absurd but because they’re simply not the way we are used to seeing things.
In the past few weeks and months we’ve seen how God’s world view is completely different from that of the world. To the world, God’s worldview is absurd. It’s not of course. It’s right and beautiful but the world is just not used to seeing things in that way so they appear completely absurd.
We see God’s worldview in his laws of love (letting someone who strikes you on one cheek strike the other, caring for strangers or one we would consider an enemy); we see it in the beatitudes in which Jesus teaches us that the meek shall inherit the earth and that those who mourn shall be blessed.
To those who are not used to seeing the world this way, these teachings are absurd and foolish.
This year we’ve been talking a lot about being Spirit-filled. What does the world view of the Spirit-filled Christian look like? You can bet to the world, much of it appears absurd. Yet to God, it is normal and right and good.
Ephesians 5:15-28 presents three world views peculiar to the Spirit-filled Christian.
1. Spirit-filled Christians have wisdom and an understanding of God’s purposes.
They can see God’s purposes in all things.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
Paul makes a number of contrasts in this passage between the wise and the foolish. This is not at all to be mistaken as a contrast between the intelligent and the unintelligent. Intelligent people can be exceedingly foolish and ‘unintelligent’ people can be very wise.
In the evil environment of the world, it’s very easy for the foolish (whether intelligent or unintelligent) to miss opportunities to live for God. Without a godly worldview, the foolish are probably completely unaware that opportunities to live for God exist. Life just rolls on! and opportunities are primarily for selfish gain. They do not understand what God’s purposes for mankind or for Christians are.
But for those with a godly worldview, who are Spirit-filled, there is an understanding of God’s purposes and of opportunities in life which fulfill God’s purposes.
To the foolish, the living out of God’s purposes – regular church involvement, quiet times, living by faith, tithing, forgiving those who’ve seriously hurt us, having an eternal perspective on life etc etc – would seem to be absurd but really the only reason these appear absurd is because the foolish are simply not used to seeing the world this way.
Trust in God’s purposes will be reflected in the way we order and conduct our lives.
Eg. Paul says that we should not be filled with wine but rather be filled with the Spirit. I know plenty of Christian homes in which people have a glass of wine (or two) before or with dinner. They’re not drunk but they’re very comfortable with this routine of having a drink with dinner.
This is their culture.
(I’m not criticizing having a drink with dinner, I’m merely addressing the world views that we hold.)
Yet I suspect that these Christians are more comfortable with the idea of having a drink with dinner than they are having a time of prayer before dinner. Perhaps the idea of having a time of prayer before dinner and/or after dinner every night would seem excessive and even absurd. But here we come to our world views even within the church community. Why would having a drink with dinner be ‘normal’ but having a time of prayer (beyond grace) be ‘a bit over the top’?
The point here is that our minds need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, not under the control of anything else, whether it be alcohol, music, a work schedule, religious practices or whatever influences we are under.
2. Spirit-filled Christians have worshipful minds.
…speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Recently we’ve talked about what to pray about when we’re not sure what to pray about. We’ve seen how the Lord’s prayer is a great solution to this dilemma. Paul presents another one here: Sing to the Lord! In your quiet times, don’t only pray words but sing songs of worship and praise to God. That doesn’t mean we turn our quiet times into song fests and replace the seeking of God and the study of His Word with music but the use of songs in private worship is valuable.
But there’s more. Paul says we should be shaping our conversations around spiritual talk and songs. Is this a bit over the top or does it just look that way because of the way we’re used to speaking and the way that we have been looking at the world?
These things really challenge our idea of what a ‘normal’ and what a ‘godly’ world view is. I want you to leave today challenged in your convictions as to what a good and righteous Christian worldview is.
3. Spirit-filled Christians approach relationships in a godly way.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word,27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Here’s another challenge to our worldview. Paul presents a view here that to many in today’s world would seem absurd: a wife submitting to her husband. It’s just “not appropriate” today.
A couple of weeks ago some of us went and watched a wonderful performance of the Taming of the Shrew. At the end of the play, there was this long monologue from the shrew who had finally been tamed and was now submissive to her husband.
The thing that bothers me about this monologue is that it goes so far overboard and it misses the point about submission on several fronts that [so] the modern reader is likely to scoff and throw out the whole idea of a husband being the head of the family and a wife being submissive.
Again, it comes back to the worldview that we hold.
Again, it comes back to being Spirit-filled and taking a worldview that is God’s – a worldview that understands and cherishes God’s purposes.
Let’s look more closely at this passage.
Firstly v 21.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The submission between a husband and wife is mutual. There is no one ‘lording it over’ the other. Each puts the other first. It is a mutual submission. I can’t emphasise this enough as this seems to either be misunderstood by the world or deliberately ignored.
The way the wife submits to her husband is to recognise and honor him as the head of the family in the same way that Christ is the head of the church. We don’t seem to have any problem recognising and honouring Christ as the head of the church. Yet Christ’s role in the church and the man’s role in the family are similar. This is how:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
The husband is to love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The role of the husband in the marriage is similar to the role of Christ in the church. It is a role of deep and sacrificial love. The role of the husband, modeling himself on Christ, is to love his wife, to give up his life for her and to make her holy.
This is the love that the wife is called to submit to.
There is no standing on the wife’s hands. That is completely the opposite kind of submission that the wife is called to. She is called to submit to the husband’s love, not his brutality. He is called to submit to her holiness, not her nagging.
To the Spirit-filled this is not only understandable but beautiful.
Let me review.
Today we’ve seen how a godly worldview is very different from the worldly worldview.
1. We’ve seen this in the way that we understand God’s purposes for our lives and our world and in the opportunities we see to live for God.
2. We’ve seen this in the way we seek to be filled with the spirit – under the control of the Spirit and not under the control of anything else, and to have worshipful minds.
3. And we’ve seen this in human relations, specifically in relations between a husband and a wife which God ordained to reflect his love for the church.
Pray for our world views/surrender.