Your true heart-felt values and core convictions interpret the world that’s happening all around you. I think this is an infallible principle of human nature. We are all biased…according to our deeply held heart beliefs. I think Paul was referring to this reality when he wrote:
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. (Titus 1:15)
Our biases can either sabotage or serve us well. By “bias” I am not necessarily referring to error or evil, though we can certainly be held by error. Here are some examples of how having a proper, God-ordered bias can powerfully keep you in the center of His will for your life and future.
God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Another way of stating all of this is: “God is sovereign.” Therefore I need not faint at anything that happens today – whether in my life or in the world. Nothing can happen without God’s knowledge, permission or decree. How I respond to providence is another matter. I must seek to know Him and His will in every situation. I need to hear from God and be saturated with His word, so that I can respond in keeping with the opportunities His providence has brought before me. If I deeply value the reality of God’s sovereignty, circumstances will never control me. I will never again think of myself as a victim. I am a child of a Father who is the blessed controller of all things. Nothing ever catches Him by surprise or is too big (or small) for Him to use for my good both now and in eternity. God is not nervous, so neither am I.
God is merciful and loving. Yes, God is capable of great wrath as well. And both Old and New Testaments give examples of God’s wrath on display in our world. But wrath is a response to things in God’s universe that refuse to willingly yield to His merciful will. God’s love (and mercy), however, is not a response. It is the spontaneous, “disinterested” (an old Puritan term) outflowing of His essential being. The Bible never says, “God is wrath.” But it does say, “God is love,” and that, “God is merciful.” God does not love me because I am good. (Though obedience certainly pleases Him.) God is not merciful to me because I am holy. In fact, mercy presupposes moral failure. God in mercy does NOT give me was I deserve. Instead His love meets me in my mess and changes me. This was ultimately proven at the Cross, where wrath was visited upon the only One who never deserved it, so that mercy and love could forever be the inheritance of those who never deserved it. If a man or woman is deeply convinced of this, do you see how it changes the way she/he views everything? Literally everything that happens in my life must first pass the muster of God’s sovereign love. Oh this is an amazing reality, beloved. Please become absolutely “biased” by it!
God is on a redemptive mission. Another way of stating this is that God is in the business of redemption. Not only does He desire people to be saved, He created the plan and provision for this salvation before the world was even created – which is indicative of His sovereign, holy love. If I truly believe that in the present age God is mightily at work through His people in bringing men, women, boys, girls, communities and nations to the saving knowledge of Jesus, then it will change the way I view the world around me. I will begin to more and more see the world and its developments and crises, through a missional lens.
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel… (Philippians 1:12)
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions…Therefore those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. (Acts 8:1-5)
I am sure there has never been a more important time in my life than today to be controlled by and gripped by a Gospel-centered bias. The speed at which Biblical morality and values are being rejected by our culture is unprecedented. Though there are still millions of sincere Christians in our land, there are many more people who reject our faith and values. This is becoming more evident day by day.
What we do next reveals our deepest values and core convictions.
The way we respond to culture’s light-speed departure from God reveals as much of what we believe about God as what we believe about the condition of our country. Sadly, many Christians are acting like judges and legislatures can actually block God’s activity in our land. For instance, the way some Christians are reacting about the current mess in presidential politics is a good indicator that many professing Christians are really just nominal in their faith. Their core values are humanistic and NOT gospel-centered. They are trusting in the arm of the flesh and NOT the arm of God’s sovereign love.
I do believe that some time out in the future our nation will experience some serious corrective judgments from God. But until then I think God is mercifully shaking the church. He’s working to separate us unto Himself, so that we live, act and believe like His people again. Beloved, a true Spirit-filled Christ-follower should interpret all of these things through Gospel-centered paradigms.
My missions mentor, Kamalakar, preached, “We gather to scatter and scatter to gather.” He was captivated by the mission of God.
If circumstances, culture, or persecution should hinder or scatter us, like Philip in Samaria, or Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, we will find a missional opportunity in front of us!