Summary: If you will let Christ change your mind, through you He will change the world.
This year has been quite a learning experience for me. I’ve learned much about World History and American Government because those are the two main subjects I teach, but I’ve also learned a lot about the why the church in America is so ineffective in our modern culture. I’ve gained this knowledge by watching my students. I teach in a Christian high school. I was warned ahead of time that kids will be kids whether they are Christians or not, but I wasn’t prepared for the low level of commitment to Christian living that my students display.
Here’s the seeming contradiction that I see time and again: kids who name the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but whose words and actions are anything but Christian. For example, there have been isolated cases of crime: one student expelled for drug possession and a handful arrested for shoplifting. I have one student who wrote eloquently about a mentoring relationship he has with a strong Christian man at his church and then in class he speaks with utter conviction about dropping nuclear warheads on Iraq and rounding up all Arabs in our country and shooting them. This kid attends a conservative Bible church and he was not kidding. Those students may be the exceptions but I see attitudes common to nearly all. Most are elitists, looking down on people with certain jobs or levels of income. In general the kids are apathetic about school in particular and life in general. They tend to scoff at calls to higher commitment to Christ. Rare are the students who will make a bold stand for the Lord. They prefer to blend in with the herd. What I’m seeing are kids who can profess the right beliefs, but are unwilling to live out a radical commitment to Christ. They attend church and a Christian school and their manners are better than they typical public school student, but that’s about as far as their faith seem to go.
At first I concluded that most of my students were not genuine Christians, but now I no longer think that’s the case. I think that most have truly given their hearts to the Lord, the problem is that their minds are being corrupted by the culture that they’re immersed in. I’ve learned that Jesus can have your heart, but if you don’t intentionally give Him your mind the world and the enemy will influence you to act against the very One who you claim to love.
In his book, Think Like Jesus, author George Barna makes this observation:
…most [Americans] are immersed in daily exercises of covert worldview training via the
mass media, public law, public school education, the Internet, and conversations with peers.
George Barna, Think Like Jesus (Nashville: Integrity Pub. 2003), 42.
In other words, from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep at night, there are forces constantly coming at you, infiltrating your mind and shaping your worldview. What is a worldview? You worldview is made up of all the assumptions in your mind, whether conscious or subconscious, about how the world really works. Another definitions says “a worldview is, first of all, an explanation and interpretation of the world and second, an application of this view to life.” Worldview is what you believe about life and it determines how you behave in this life.
Here’s the scary part: Most of the influences that come at you lead to a worldview in opposition to God and a biblical worldview. You could be a sincere follower of Jesus Christ who truly loves the Lord and wants to serve Him, but because of your worldview you’re actually living contrary to God’s will. What I want to do this morning is make you aware of what’s influencing you and programming your mind. I also want to show you how to shut down influences that oppose God and intentionally begin developing a worldview that pleases the Lord.
There are signs you can look for to see if, in fact, your worldview has been influenced by ungodly forces.
WORLDVIEW WARNING SIGNS
The book of James provides us with some clues that our worldview is corrupted. This New Testament letter was penned by James, the brother of Jesus, who became the leader of the church at Jerusalem. At one point, persecution broke out against the Greek-speaking Jews who had converted to Christianity. They were not native born Jews. When they began coming to faith in Christ en masse, the religious establishment attempted to squash them. The result was that most of them fled Jerusalem and headed into the Gentile or non-Jewish world.
The book of James was written to them so they’d know how to conduct themselves as Christ- followers in a world that was set in opposition to the one true God. These people were a lot like us when we leave our home, church or fellowship groups. We find ourselves immersed in a culture that is anti-Christian to the core. How should we then live in such an environment? James warns us not to let our worldviews become corrupted because the results will be behaviors in opposition to the way of Christ. As I read these next few verses from chapter 4, keep in mind that these were written to genuine believers, not pagans. Also, be aware that some of what he says is hyperbole – exaggerated descriptions that point to a spiritual truth.