Your Worldview

One of my classes in Seminary this semester is an Apologitics class. This week, one of my assignments included answering the following worldview questions from my point of view, and then from the average American’s point of view: How do we find happiness? How do we find wholeness? What goals are really worth pursuing? What is life “for”?

I chose to include my answers on my blog this week in hopes that it would get anyone who reads it thinking as it did for me. I hope you will take the time to read my answers, and then, perhaps, you will answer them (all of them or one of them) for yourself. I would love to see the thoughts of others on these very important questions. I would urge all Christians to at least take some time and think through these questions, as they are some of the very questions that we will be asked by non-Christians. We need to have a ready answer for them. So, here goes…

My Worldview:

a) How do we find happiness?

As a Christian, I must first have a good understanding of happiness. First, I must realize that happiness is fleeting. This emotion is definitely not constant; it is not abiding, so to speak. As Christians, we are so often taught that joy is the emotion for which we should strive, because of these attributes of happiness. We must understand that the Christian life may not always be a ‘happy life,’ but we can always have the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit even in the deepest storms of life. We must not make happiness our chief pursuit. As much as I do concur with this, I do also hold to the idea that happiness is real and can be experienced by anyone, and especially a Christian.

In dealing with happiness, we must first recognize that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17), or in other words, all of the gifts in life that give happiness is a gift from God alone. It is in these gifts that we will find happiness. I, myself, seek to find happiness in the gift of my relationships with my family and friends. I seek to find happiness in the gift of my talents and abilities. I seek to find happiness in the leisure activities in which I love to participate. I seek to find happiness in laughter and enjoying life, in general. This happiness is greatly enhanced (along with joy) when I have the perspective that these are all gifts from my Heavenly Father. It is enhanced as my gratitude towards Him for these gifts grow as well.

b) How do we find wholeness?

Genesis tells me that I was made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). I was created as a relational being to have a relationship with my Creator. If this is true, and I believe with my whole heart that it is, then the only way that I can ever find wholeness is to be in that relationship for which I was created. I can, therefore, only be whole in Jesus Christ. It is only through Him, and His work on the cross and in the Resurrection, that I can be restored to this relationship with God. So, I can only be made complete and whole when I discover my identity in the one who created me, through the reconciliation of Jesus.

c) What goals are really worthy of pursuing?

The only goals that are really worthy of pursuing are those that are abiding, or lasting. Hebrews 13:14 reminds me that “here we have no lasting city…” This means that any and all succeeded goals dealing with advancement in this world will not be abiding, as this world is not abiding. Therefore, the only goals worthy of pursuing are those that are eternal. As clear as God’s Word is in advancing the temporal nature of this world, it is just as clear about the eternal nature of the Kingdom of God. Hebrews 12:27-28 speaks of the inevitable “removal of things that can be shaken—that is, things that have been made (the world and all of creation)—in order that the things that cannot be shaken (God’s Kingdom) may remain.”

This is why the Bible is also clear that we should “lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in a steal” (Matt. 6:29). This encouragement is advancing the idea that any treasure that is stored here on earth, and for earthly accomplishments, is not abiding, and will one day fade away. On the contrary, however, any treasure stored in the Kingdom of God, or heaven, will indeed be abiding, or eternal. Therefore, any goal that qualifies as an eternal goal is one that is worthy of pouring all of my ability and strength into pursuing; for God’s purpose and for the advancement of His Kingdom.

d) What is life “for”?

Only my Creator is able to answer this question of why I have been created and have been given the gift of life. He has blessed us by giving us this answer in His Word; and, the answer is simply to bring Him glory. As I am restored to a relationship with God through Jesus, my task then becomes the mirroring of God’s glory to the nations. I am to grow in my relationship with the Lord, and at the same time, carry out this mirroring of God’s glory by loving with His love and showing His grace and mercy (only with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course); and, as I am going, I am to spread God’s glory by advancing the Gospel and making disciples. This is what my life is “for”.

The Average American’s Worldview (in my opinion):

a) How do we find happiness?

It is important for us to understand that most Americans today view this idea of happiness as life’s chief pursuit. “Whatever will bring me happiness” is a popular answer to all questions of worldview today, and the areas in which this happiness is sought are numerous, to say the least. I believe the answer that most Americans would advance would be simply “wherever I must look.”

I would say that most Americans seek happiness, first and foremost, in success. Whether this is academic or career success, most Americans seem willing to let so many other aspects of their lives fall into waste in the pursuits of success. Americans also seem to look for happiness through financial gain, buying into the belief that money can indeed “buy happiness.” Americans also seem to attempt to find happiness through love, fulfillment and relationships. Most of the time, however, this self-centered approach only leads to disappointment and brokenness. Another area in which Americans seek happiness is in the accumulation of stuff. Billions of dollars are spent each year on toys of various types in order to achieve happiness.

So, the answer to this question is simply wherever Americans think that they can find it, because happiness will lead to fulfillment, and ultimately wholeness, or so they think.

b) How do we find wholeness?

The answer to this question for most Americans parallels very will with the answer to the previous one. I think most in our land would agree that happiness is definitely a prerequisite to being whole.
I think in answering this question, again there would be varying answers. I have heard experts advance the idea that wholeness can only be found through truly discovering yourself, whatever that means. Many people seek to do this through various activities, such as Yoga or meditation. Others seek this through attempting to achieve balance, using nutrition and exercise. I also am aware of people striving to do this by attempting to mold themselves into the image of what they wish they were; that by doing this, they would finally be made whole. Others attempt to do this by achieving some sort of enlightenment.

Many people do ultimately choose the path of spirituality, recognizing that there is some force that is bigger than themselves. But, this kind of pursuit without a relationship with the one true God only leaves them with a life-long search for what truth really is.

At the end of the day, I think this is an element of worldview that is one of the more confusing for the average American. This is definitely harder for them to answer than the question dealing with happiness.

c) What goals are really worthy of pursuing?

Again, this answer parallels very well with the answer to the happiness question. This is due to the fact that most people would answer this question in light of the fact that for them, happiness is life’s chief pursuit. Only goals that will bring them personal happiness are the ones that are worthy of pursuing. Many times, these goals include career and personal advancement. If these goals are met, the other goals in life will somehow fit into place and be met as well.

I truly believe that most Americans would answer this question with answers of family and morality. At the end of the day, however, most people’s actions simply do not back up that sentiment. Only the goals that will bring personal advancement are the ones that are pursued the hardest.

d) What is life “for”?

I would answer this question in light of what seems to be important in this life to the average American. These reasons seem to all revolve around the idea that we should all strive to be an outstanding humanitarian. We are here to somehow help our fellow man. This is attempted, especially recently, in various ways. I see people attempting to do this through trying to take care of the environment. I see this through trying to meet the needs of the poor and oppressed by partnering with various humanitarian charities and endeavors. We can see this, in one trivial way at least, through the wild popularity of reality shows, such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that airs on the ABC Television Network. People truly feel an extreme urge to be a humanitarian. Because of this urge, along with the conscience that God has given us, Americans have come to the conclusion that this is what life is truly “for”—being the best person I can possibly be, and helping as many people that I can in order to make this world a better place to live.

So, what say you to these extremely important questions?

One thought on “Your Worldview

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  1. This similar to what we are studying in Sunday School. We’re studying Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”, which draws heavily from “Desiring God”.Piper argues, and I’m increasingly convinced, that we are designed to pursue happiness. Our greatest happiness — greater than things we buy, greater than food, greater than sex — is found in God alone. The “American Dream” as it is usually defined is a bait-and-switch: buy a house, two cars, etc., and you will have become the very definition of a successful American — you’ll be happy. C. S. Lewis said, and Piper agreed, that our problem is that “we are too easily satisfied” with lesser things than God. It seems that this message and your response are very similar, but the implications of Piper have really opened up worship for me. Prior to coming to Westwood, worship was something you did because God is God and I am his creature. But I find myself genuinely enjoying worship <>in the same way that I enjoy anything else<>, only more so. I had to miss church this past Sunday because I was very sick the night before. I was more miserable over missing church than actually being sick. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be out of town for two weeks, and I’ve already thought about not getting to go to worship. What has happened to me?!I would have once worried that the music, the instruments, the hand-raising would be distracting from “real worship”, which I suppose I would have defined as sitting quietly thinking God-thoughts with a scowl on my face. Indeed, the lyrics, the music, and the musical arrangements cause an emotional response — the kind that makes me hungry for the exposition of Scripture. I have finally experienced Jonathan Edward’s “Religions Affections”.As you’ve noted, it doesn’t mean that we are never not happy, but we are comforted and encouraged, and invigorated by our constant and consistent pursuit of that which is greater than food, greater than drink, greater than personal ambition, greater than physical pleasures, our Great God and Savior.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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