Is God more than your "Christian Worldview"?
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Growing up in the church, I was taught from a young age how to have Jesus not just be a belief, but a worldview.
Jesus is a worldview that defines everything.
How I make personal decisions.
How I view cultural issues.
How I prioritize what is important in life.
How I define morality.
How I interact with different situations and people.
How I decide to vote.
How I spend my money and time.
How I react to the news and pop culture.
Jesus is a pair of glasses I put on, the truth I filter everything through, and a life defining framework. With Him, I renew my mind to see the world as he would- what a gift! But in my “Jesus Worldview” mindset, I’ve learned that I was missing a huge part of who Jesus is.
In becoming my worldview, Jesus became a truth I knew, not a relationship I pursued. An authority on morality that was mainly focused on my decisions. Over the years I slowly began to live like Jesus was more concerned with my renewed mind than my growing desire for God, my heart.
Yes, God is still my worldview, but I have learned THERE IS MORE to who He is in my life. Here are three major shifts I’ve seen as I’ve transitioned Jesus from a worldview to a personal, interactive, growing relationship.
More than knowing what the Bible says- a growing desire to know God.
What does the Bible say about words that come out of my mouth? I could easily quote a few verses and then google it to find more. For the past 10 years, I’ve been very confident in addressing any topic with Bible verses in that same matter. I would take a topic, find the verses, and have my answer. Honestly, the Bible started to become my personal truth manual instead of a way to know God deeper.
So what’s been different this year? Instead of going to the Bible looking for the truth or answer, I go to the Bible and ask “What does this teach me about God?”. My desire has shifted from topical wisdom to a desire for the heart of my Father. It’s not studying to pass a test, it’s like going on a date with my husband and asking him good questions.
I’ve been reading an A.W. Tozer book called “The Crucified Life” and this paragraph about the Bible really struck me:
“Why has God given us the Scriptures? It is by reading the Scriptures that we might know God. But the Scriptures are not an end in themselves. We hear them talked about as though they were an end in themselves. The purpose of the Bible is not to replace God; the purpose of the Bible is to lead us to God.”
I was also surprised at what Jesus said to the Jews who were following him in John 5:39-40
“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to be that you may have life”.
The context is different, for they didn’t believe that Jesus was God. However, I can relate to the issue. The Jews became such experts in the scripture, and they missed the entire point. Jesus was standing right in front of them and they didn’t engage in a relationship. As I have functioned with Jesus as a worldview- I missed the best part of Him! I was so busy knowing his truth and the Bible that somehow I missed the relationship, knowing him personally, and pursuing him in my everyday life. I was so confident that I already “knew” what the Bible said that I saw no need to continue to study, engage, and grow. That would be like deciding I knew everything there was to know about my husband and stop engaging with Him!
Sweet friends, there is so much more to God to know and experience. It doesn’t come from topically studying the Bible, it comes from consistent time with God, asking for more of Him and sacrificing more of you. It’s better than parties, better than good food, better than playing with my sweet baby, and better than the feeling of driving away in a new car. If you are interacting with God only as a worldview, there is such beauty in that, but you’re missing something even better.
More than making me a better person, avoiding sin, and acting Christian- a more personal sacrifice and obedience.
When Jesus was my worldview, I was very focused on acting like him. I wanted to live like Jesus, make decisions like Jesus, and think about things like Jesus. I would say that being a good Christian would probably be defined by loving God, avoiding sin, and telling other people about Jesus. I would read the Bible and ask “What is Jesus doing here and how can I do the same?”
Again, those pieces aren’t wrong. But it’s possible to do all of those things without personally interacting with God on a regular basis. Now, instead of acting how I think Christians should, I talk directly to God and ask him. I am learning that God’s call to obedience is personal, and he shows us that all throughout his word.
James 2:22-25 is talking through the “works” and the things we do as a result of our faith. The often-quoted verse of saying faith without works is dead. But look further in that passage where God gives us examples of what this looks like:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
These examples each came from a personal and interactive relationship with God. Abraham & Rahab didn’t just try not to sin or be generous, they didn’t just engage with God as an overall worldview, their obedience was personal. Sacrificing his son on the altar did absolutely nothing for anyone. Actually, no one else was even there to see it. But it was the most important thing Abraham could do- it was the position of his heart, it was hearing and obeying God directly, it was a growing relationship with his creator.
More than how I make decisions- engaging Him in all things.
Engaging God as a worldview was most often seen when I was up against a decision. Does God want me to take this new job? Should I volunteer here? How should I think about this cultural issue? I would always be afraid of making a decision that was out of His will or having a belief that wasn’t Biblical.
Can you relate? You’re coasting along fine but then a problem or question comes up and your need for God increases. I’ve been in the cycle the last 10 years, and it has helped me to learn from God and see him as the guide to all decisions in my life, but THERE IS MORE!
This shift has taken the longest, learning to engage God in all things, at all times. I think this is a concept I’ve heard talked about many times, but never understood. As I’ve continued to ask God that he would be my only desire, I’ve been bringing him into my every day. Praying as I clean up my son’s toys, listening to the Bible as I drive, and spending significant time with God each day. I am now not just praying about the big decisions, but praying for my brother as I text him and thanking God for medicine as I’m waiting at the pharmacy.
I read a small book called “A Theology of the Ordinary” that really helped me make this shift, and engaging God in all things, not just big or “spiritual” things. It shifts God from someone who cares solely about my big decisions and definitions of truth, to someone who I am in a relationship with. Imagine what my relationship with my husband would be like if I only talked to him when making a decision? It’s the small day-to-day conversation that build up to intimacy in marriage, and intimacy with my Creator.
If your relationship with God has been mainly focused on Jesus as a “worldview”, you’re off to a great start. In no way am I saying that posture is incorrect, I’m just sharing that THERE IS MORE!
Imagine you’re at an all inclusive resort- all the food, drinks, activities, and fun you could possibly desire are included. If God has mainly been your worldview, you are in the beautiful lobby with welcome drinks and cookies! You are saved by His Grace, you are welcomed into rest, and your truth is defined by him. But friends, there is more. There is an entire resort to explore- intimacy with God, a growing desire for Him, the joy of being near your creator, and a personal interactive relationship.
Walk out of the lobby, friend. It’s beautiful out here.
For more, listen to Hannah's podcast episode: I changed how I read the Bible.