When God breathed life into mankind, it was more than oxygen, nitrogen, and a few other gases. Our creator injected a worldview.
Everyone has a worldview. Christians, Buddhists, Moslems, Hare Krishna’s, and even atheists look at life through the lens of what they consider to be true. A worldview is simply the way one looks at reality. It is the way you interpret the world around you. Your worldview determines your values, morals, behavior, and even your ultimate destiny. The way you view reality is also the foundation which shapes the way you look at yourself, the universe, and how/where you fit in this universe and life.
Mankind has always asked at least three basic questions.
- Is there a God?
- If so, what is he like?
- What is the meaning and purpose of my life?
The early disciples asked those very same questions just in different ways. In one setting, Jesus tells his followers to believe in God, that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that they would know the way of getting there. Despite being with him for quite some time, Thomas (and no doubted the others) still had difficulty in understanding comprehending Christ and life. “Thoma(s) said to him, ‘Our Lord, we do not know where you are going and how can we know the way?’ Yeshua said to him, ‘I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life; no man comes to my Father but by me alone. If you had known me, you also would have known my Father, and from this hour you do know him and you have seen him.” (John 14:5-7 Aramaic Bible)
“Jesus Christ simply imparted the real worldview; the ultimate reality.”
Immediately afterwards, Phillip asks Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus point-blank tells them they have seen the Father. He then gave a longer and detailed answer to those three basic questions we all ask. Christ tells his disciples many things including not only who he is, but who they are. He gives them purpose and direction. Christ also tells them that they will be infused with a divine Spirit that will guide them to all truth. Finally, he tells them to have peace; internal peace. Jesus Christ simply imparted the real worldview; the ultimate reality.
It’s what the kingdom of heaven is all about.
When Christ came to this world, he came to reveal the correct worldview and set us “back on track” by providing us a new way of looking at life. That way claims to be the true and only ultimate truth. What makes it so difficult for us to grasp is we continue to hold onto our old views of reality, while claiming to believe in Christ’s view. Of course, they don’t mesh, and that is essentially what causes us so many of our internal conflicts. Our thinking, values and judgments, mixed with our past experiences, expectations, and our view of what “should be” and what “shouldn’t be” gives us our worldview. They must all be in balance and in control of the self. Any one of them out of balance can cause us problems. Several of them out of balance, and at greater degrees, can make us anxious, worrisome, and depressed. The kingdom of heaven is about balanced living, the way God has defined it to be and not as “I” or the self, has defined it. We all struggle and work at balancing out lives. For some, however, it can be overwhelming. Many who struggle at this level are in conflict with reality. They may have all the “facts”, but they are not able to process those facts in relation to the ultimate truth Jesus describes.
“Life is spiritual. Your physical existence doesn’t contribute to that life. The words that I have spoken to you are spiritual. They are life. — (John 6:23, God’s Living Word Translation)
But just what is this “ultimate reality” and “truth” Christ describes? How does one experience this ultimate reality? There are too many to list in a single post. However, the following are essential to begin the process of being “born again” and living a life full of peace and joy.
First, it is the understanding that there are two realms; the physical and the spiritual (or eternal). ALL things are filtered through this lens of understanding. The realm we choose to live in determines our joy and maturity. Throughout his teaching, Christ talked about the “Kingdom of Heaven,” or the “Kingdom of God.” He also refers to it as light and darkness. Christ calls us to live and be members of the “light.” The enemy also has his kingdom in the spiritual realm known as the world of “darkness.” Joy is found in the light, and misery in the darkness. The kingdom which Jesus describes is not one for the future, but for the present. When we die we will experience the depths of that kingdom which this present life of flesh keeps us from fully understanding. The disciple of Jesus chooses to focus on kingdom living, or living in the light. He/she understands that the purpose is to be “born of the spirit”…into the spiritual realm of light found only in Christ.
This certainly does not mean we ignore or even despise the physical. However, we put all our understanding that life is found in the kingdom of light, and that the physical will disappear…only the spiritual remains. Consider the words of Christ. “Life is spiritual. Your physical existence doesn’t contribute to that life. The words that I have spoken to you are spiritual. They are life. — (John 6:23, God’s Living Word Translation) Life is more than school, careers, cars, trips, and what we consider the “important things of life.” In the end those things will disappear the moment we die. Yet, we spend nearly all of our time chasing those things; the very things that will vanish with our last breath! Even the so-called “noble” things of life will vanish. Status, importance, fame, achievements, and successes will no longer count for anything. Unfortunately, even many church leaders continue to focus on the physical by promising Christians “success” in this world as the world defines success. However, we must evaluate everything in how it relates to eternity, or the things of the spiritual realm. Once we place everything in the proper context, we begin that process of being made whole and alive.
“We give into our evil desires and wind up emotionally and spiritually damaged.”
Second, the ultimate reality is about understanding life in terms of spiritual warfare in the spiritual realm. We all suffer. Some more than others for various reasons. However, there is no way we can see the true sufferings people experience because we are not privy to what is taking place in their mind. We can usually see the physical suffering. But the spiritual suffering is usually hidden under layers of masks we invent to cover what we are truly feeling and thinking. Not one person can escape the sufferings of life. While many religions acknowledge the idea of suffering, Christ helps us understand it for 1) what it really is, and 2) what to do with it.
Third, understanding the role of the “self” is critical in developing the correct worldview. This, arguably, is one of the most important elements in the Christian worldview. We all suffer from physical pain and hurts from others. However, most of our suffering comes from our own evil desires. That’s because we struggle with the “self.” Much of our suffering comes from a “selfish” viewpoint of life. Life is about “me.” and what “I” want. Anything less and the “I” becomes angered. Therefore, we work and strive with intensity to satisfy our “self.” We give into our evil desires and wind up emotionally and spiritually damaged. Christ says to completely deny the self. Drop the ego. No more “me.” The self is the most difficult to overcome because it requires us to completely surrender to God. However, our pride fights the process.
“We overcome when we surrender to Christ. It is impossible for the surrendered life to lose to the kingdom of darkness.”
Fourth, ultimate reality is the fact understanding that the mind is the battlefield and your spirit is the prize. Christ imparts to us his Spirit. The Spirit’s role is to develop in us the mind of Christ so we can obtain the wisdom needed to fight the enemy and experience true joy and peace. It is the tool that is developed to win in the spiritual realm. With the mind of Christ we make decisions with a new outlook. Problems are seen for what they really are–an attack by the enemy to destroy. We can let those attacks defeat us, or we can allow them to make us mature, complete, and not lacking in anything. The choice is ours to make.
Fifth, the ultimate reality of Christ is also the understanding that while life continues beyond death, life also begins the moment we surrender ourselves to his will. Once we surrender ourselves to his will, we then take on a new set of desires. Those desires are the ones that help shape us into whom we are really meant to be; sons or daughters of God. The disciple also understands that God rules and is the ultimate authority allowing the battle to continue until he is ready for it to end based on his purposes…not ours. His desire is for his sons and daughters to be made whole, and this takes place through the difficulties of life. We overcome when we surrender to Christ. It is impossible for the surrendered life to lose to the kingdom of darkness.
There are many other foundational principles and truths in the kingdom, or the reality of Christ. Being born again of the Spirit is the first step. Take that step, begin the process, and you will become a conquerer.