The start to my day begins…in bed…with my eye mask on! As a light sleeper, I wake to the first glimpse of light, peeking between the cracks in the curtains, and so I try to trick my body into a longer rest through the use of an eye mask. It doesn’t always work, and pretty soon the evidence wins out.
Generally speaking, I think the “ought to’s” of life are remarkably clear and simple. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know the next step we ought to take. It’s when we play mind-games with ourselves: seeking to justify selfish behaviors; that we put the eye mask, or blinders back on to hide the light.
When you look at the beauty and complexity of this universe, operating by mathematical rhythms and can be identified and written out, what do you see? When you look at the narrow, yet lengthy list of life-sustaining factors embedded into our planet, that enables you to live, breathe, and eat, what do you see? When you look upon our ability to communicate and process communication with each other, or even seek out meaningful and purposeful relationships, what do you see in that? When you look for something better, longing for a pain-free existence of love, joy, and peace, what do you see in that?
In just those categories, I can’t help but see a Creator that values beauty, orderly design, and relationship. It corresponds to the reality around me! I simply can’t trust the “scientific minds” of those who believe we are the products of mindless, random processes, namely evolution. Pretending that life has evolved, when just about every natural law points from order to disorder (without an intentional infusion of energy) means choosing to put the blinders back on to what is observable around me!
This also corresponds to observable reality: “…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)
What does it mean to live out the implications of what I see to be true? It means that God has allowed for a portion of Himself to be discoverable, therefore, He wants us to discover Him! Other aspects of Himself can only be discovered if He would choose to reveal it, and the source which claims to be the “Word of God”, that also best accounts for the reality we observe around us (Design, purpose, love, and our sinful condition), can be found in the Bible. Within it, is the promise that there IS a perfect reality towards which all of our basic longings point! Its Author reveals that the only way for us to come to that perfect reality is through a relationship with Himself, and prescribes how to attain it.
When my eye mask comes off fully, the light floods in. It all makes sense! But will I be willing to apply its implications to everything around me? That I, and those around me are created in the image of God? (Genesis 1:27) That I was in the mind of God before I was even formed (Proverbs 8:23), made for His purposes and for eternity? (Ecclesiastes 3:11, 2 Timothy 2:21) What if ALL my relationships were to be treated in this light? That we “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21)
The foundation for your worldview should establish behavior. I “love” Gary Thomas’ focus on the word-choice “cherish” to aptly describe the biblical standard for today’s marriages. The word “love” is simply used too broadly and therefore too vague. But as so many of us have vowed to “love and cherish” our spouses, that is something I can wrap my mind around. To Cherish, is to protect and care for something. It is recognizing the value and potential of something, as well as how fragile it could be. Gardening metaphors come to mind: We invest time and effort into it, often our blood, sweat, and tears, are given to water, weed, and nurture our precious gift. Marriage isn’t an endless, free-flowing cascade of wonderful emotion. It is uphill grunt-work, even a battle to fight, out of the value we place in the relationship with the other person.
This applies to other relationships as well: to our children, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to those who could potentially join us in our journey towards eternity. Our understanding of God through His revelations, our relationship with Him, and His Manual for Life in His Word, should be guiding us in every aspect of life. We prioritize based on His priorities!
Here’s the starter, from James 4:6-10: That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”