“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Jesus
In other words, how we “see things” is paramount. Perspective is everything indeed! Why is that so, according to Jesus? Because if your perspective is skewed or compromised to begin with you can’t expect your conclusions that follow to be any less skewed or compromised. Uncorrected vision only leads to more pitfalls and error.
Paradigm is another way of saying picture or pattern. For many Christians associated with the Restoration Movement the word pattern resonates. For some it has a sweet ring to it; for others it is a grating in the ears. Regardless, whether we use the word pattern or paradigm it is important, critically important, light and darkness important, that we focus correctly and see things as God sees them.
Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months and then the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for the harvest.” What an “eye opening” statement! Jesus contrasts two perspectives, two ways of seeing things, man’s and God’s. Man’s is skewed, compromised and darkened. God’s is clear, accurate and full of light. When we who claim to be Christians fail to see things as Jesus does we are filling our world with darkness rather than illuminating it with the truth. This must stop. It’s long overdue in American Christianity to see things differently. One perspective that is beginning to see some light of day is framed in the following question: Am I a Christ-follower or a Church-goer? There’s a big difference between the two. One is darkened to the truth of Scripture; the other blazes with the light of truth. They are entirely different paradigms. They embody and reproduce distinctly different patterns and outcomes. Which are you?
To help us get a clearer perspective of where we stand in light of the question and the truth, consider the following comparisons. (And if the brightness of the truth is at first slightly blinding, don’t panic. Give it a minute to sink in and try correcting your step accordingly. You’ll find as you walk in the truth your eyes will adjust to the light and the darkness will fade away.)
Am I a Christ-follower or a Church-goer?
Christ-followers are relationship oriented (towards God & others) – John 13:34-35; John 14:23; John 17:3. Church-goers are attendance oriented.
Christ-followers are always learning something new – Philippians 3:12-15. Church-goers try to remember what they’ve already learned.
Christ-followers read their bibles looking for Jesus with an eagerness to imitate and a readiness to obey – John 5:39-40; John 8:31-32; Acts 17:11. Church-goers might read their bibles.
Following Christ is non-negotiable – Luke 14:31-34. Going to church is optional.
Following Christ is daily – Luke 9:23. Going to church is weekly, monthly, annually or on an “as needed” basis.
Christ-followers are inclusive – Matthew 28:19-20; Galatians 3:28. Church-goers can be exclusive (white church, black church, my church, your church).
Christ followers are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Jesus – II Corinthians 3:17-18. Church goers are informed about what their church believes.
Christ followers embrace change because it is the path to the Kingdom – Matthew 18:3. Church-goers fear it because they’ve never done it that way before.
Christ followers pray like they breathe, continually – I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Church goers pray at the appointed times: at services, during emergencies and sometimes before meals.
Christ followers grow up to serve – Ephesians 4:11-16. Church goers show up for services.
Note: All Scripture references from the Bible. All other references from I & II Opinions.