Monday, March 9, 2020

A Christian Worldview: What Should We Do?

Solomon was an interesting figure. Blessed with incredible wisdom, intelligence, wealth and power, he decided to test drive life by his own wits. He set out to figure it all out and experience everything he could. He studied everything he could, sought out every kind of pleasure he could find, built great projects, amassed fantastic wealth, and at every turn felt nothing but emptiness. Famously, he decried, "All is vanity and a striving after the wind," in despair at the discovery.

He looked at the people around him and saw they experienced the same thing—emptiness. The Hebrew word translated emptiness or vanity throughout Ecclesiastes (hebel) literally refers to breath or vapor. Quite accurately it conveys the fleeting quality of thing that seemed to be there but then wasn't. For Solomon, after all of his efforts, achievements and experiences, life boiled down to a merciless sentence with emptiness at every comma and a period ending it all in the suddenness of death.

A very dour perspective, to be sure, but all that matters is whether or not it’s true. 

Despite the endless despair over the emptiness of human existence cited throughout Ecclesiastes, a positive conclusion came at the end. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man,” Solomon averred. Now that is a perspective we can live with! In very practical terms it makes living through so much meaninglessness meaningful with the added benefit that it's easy to remember.

"Recognize God, respect him as your creator, live life in regard to him" is how I would state it. That may seem very “Old Testamenty” from a New Testament vantage, but it translates readily into a Christian worldview. For Christians, life revolves around recognizing Christ as God in the flesh, respecting him as Savior, and living in regard to him. What Solomon learned the hard way Christians can adopt by faith, and without all the bumps and bruises along the way that come when one of trusts in oneself.

Honestly, there is only thing in life that isn’t wasting away, that crosses the threshold of death and remains in eternity--our relationship with Christ. This is the only thing of worth we will ever have in this life and the only thing we can improve upon and have stand the test of time. It certainly is the only thing we can take with us. All the things that humans treasure and labor for and try to preserve and protect from the savages of time (and savages themselves) matters not a whit in the end.

Only what we have with Christ matters!

The only thing of any real value in life is knowing God on friendly terms. So why are people, supposedly with a Christian worldview, working at anything else? By not developing this kind of Christian worldview and living by it, believers end up living in a tug of war between the flesh and faith, between the world and the Spirit. They live defeated, worldly, empty lives and feel uncertainty about their place in the end. It doesn't have to be this way, vanity is not unavoidable.

Living with Jesus eyes is the only way to live at all. Anything else is a waste of time.

So put first things first. Above all, know God, not as a precept or a theory, but personally, as a constant companion that you want to be with. Then, simply go where he goes, do what he does, and say what he says. Live with life revolving around Jesus. If we don’t put the most important thing first, in the end, we’ll have nothing. That would be the vanity of all vanities.

What went before...