Key Thought for this session:
“Ultimately I can go only one of two ways — which path do I take?”
In this b4worldview we established 5 categories of core assumptions people hold dear to make sense of themselves and their world in pursuit of an abundant and virtuous life:
While this may have been an unfamiliar way for you to look at worldviews and beliefs, it is actually not a new approach.
A couple thousand years ago Jesus of Nazareth began his ministry with some official teaching on what the Kingdom of God is like.
Known as the “Sermon on the Mount” and recorded for us in Chapters 5 through 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, He chose a narrative that contrasted two completely different sets of core assumptions. This is the foundation of the two core assumption columns in our b4worldview course.
Let’s take a moment and see how Jesus’ view on core assumptions helps us avoid futility and instead experience the abundant and virtuous life. In fact, Jesus’ argument is that AS your identity changes and is found in Him, you receive the Kingdom mind and the core assumptions that frame all your thoughts, feelings and actions.
So, how does this fit what we have studied in b4worldview? Let’s look at what He said as He taught his closest students.
Jesus wanted His followers to understand that the Spiritual (Column B) perception of reality is one that is different from Carnal (Column A). He specifically said this to His most dedicated followers, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Do you see the contrast? He compares Carnal (Column A) reality with Spiritual (Column B) reality. Column A, an allegiance to the physical world, ties our affections to things that cannot last, objects subject to all sorts of destruction. Column B, things in Heaven, is a spiritual realm where God guarantees that there is no way His provisions can or will ever be destroyed by anything.
It is interesting that Jesus positions this Column A – Column B contrast with the notion of treasure. Your “treasure” is what you value the most and to which you direct your allegiance. In motivation theory psychologists call this “valence.” Today, many people would describe this as your passion. Jesus says your heart flows from your treasure. That is, what you value the most is the driving force for your motivation.
Interestingly, before He explains the two ways to view reality, He reminds His students of how fortunate they are to have a Kingdom mind. Do you see that when He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God,” He is essentially saying that when you have motives that are not contaminated by Column A thinking, you can actually see God Himself, although He is invisible to the physical eye. In other words, with a Column B identity you have spiritual eyes - your gnosis knowledge has an “open door policy” with God – you are filled with revelation not just from but also ABOUT the originator of the universe Himself.
Jesus addresses this, too. He reminds us that the law can be useful to understand how things work, BUT that is not enough. Jesus goes further to explain how we can know the truth. He says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to complete them” which means He didn’t come to do away with what God had said through the prophets about how things work, but that Jesus, himself, more fully discloses everything there is to know about how things work. So, isn’t Jesus saying this: When you want to see what is true, your view must flow from your Spiritual identity where the actual qualities of life are disclosed to you by the author and authority of all creation.
Jesus uses the “eye” to distinguish Column A and Column B assumptions about truth. That is interesting since we shared with you in great detail in session 5 how perception is so important in how we make sense of what we encounter in life. Remember we said that “It’s not what you see but what you ‘see it is’ that matters”? Jesus points out that if the “eye is healthy,” meaning perceiving truth correctly, then your whole body will be healthy, or acting on what is true. BUT, if your “eye is UNhealthy,” then your whole body is filled with “darkness,” which means you cannot see and consequently act on what is true.
Jesus goes on to say that we cannot operate with both Column A assumptions and Column B assumptions. They are “mutually exclusive” as we pointed out in the course. He says you will either be devoted to the physical world, viewing truth by what you think you visibly see around you, or you will be devoted to the invisible author of all truth. Column A or Column B, they are totally different ways to see truth.
Earlier we defined trust as “willful vulnerability.” It is the willingness or motivation to rely on someone we cannot control, nor maybe even always understand, because we believe that this someone will not act in their own self-interest at our expense. Our motivation to trust is determined by two things: what we value, and our perception of risk. We talked about how what we value influences our motivation when we discussed REALITY. The other component of motivation is our perception of the RISK of our actions. Our perception of the risk of our actions is foremost in our mind and is influenced by our assumptions about trust. Column A assumes we must have sufficient understanding of the effect of our actions and how others will respond in order for us to act. But Jesus says, in His own way, “NOPE, there is a Column B view of trust, totally different from Column A.”
Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and then everything you can imagine will follow, maybe even some stuff you cannot imagine will come, too. This is a Column B core assumption. Column A would have you proving something from observation, maybe even using good scientific inquiry, before you would know you could trust enough to act. The Kingdom mind, consisting of Column B assumptions, is to adopt the Kingdom mindset of simply trusting in God’s goodness and faithfulness. You don’t need to figure out the risks, because you already know the One you trust in is trustworthy and reliable. You don’t even have to know “why.” Jesus says that making the Kingdom of God your priority ushers out all concern about risk and ushers in all trust.
Back in this teaching where Jesus was sharing with Kingdom minded people about the provisions and privileges of the Kingdom, he says, “The fortunate are those who are meek.” Now the word “meek” may mean something to you that is quite different than what Jesus is saying. Our culture, which is dominated by Column A thinking, would say that “meek” is being “weak,” unaggressive, and letting others “walk all over you.” But, no, that is not what is fortunate about being Kingdom minded. What “meek” means here is trusting totally in your master. This idea is much like a young child who gives little to no thought to how they are housed, fed, or clothed. Their loving parent provides all the child's needs without expectation of being paid back and the child relies fully on the love and faithfulness of the parents. This is what Jesus means when He says Column B people receive blessings as they totally trust God and not their own instincts and observations.
This is emphasized in His instruction to His students. Jesus explains the Column A vs. Column B assumptions in three important virtues– charity, prayer, and fasting. Jesus points out that if you do these three activities as a contingent on what you receive, or in exchange for what you receive, then you will receive only in proportion to what you give. But if you do these activities from your heart because you are so thankful He has chosen you, then rewards come to you at God’s discretion. And... Jesus reminds us that God is a generous and reliable provider who rewards according to his sovereign will, not according to what we have done. Contingent rewards are the way of Column A and discretionary rewards are the way of Column B.
Do you want to know something that is interesting? These three activities are also core to many of the world’s other religions. BUT, there is one big difference. The difference is what we discussed in the b4worldview course. The difference is a Column A vs. Column B core assumption. For Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even Column A Christians, the followers must do these things in exchange for God’s favor. While these religious people do look to a god to meet the needs of their soul, they do so with a Column A core assumption, believing in reward and punishment based on their own actions. So, while charity, prayer, and fasting are central to the activities of many religions, the core assumption that influences a Christian as described by Jesus versus some other religious person, is totally different.
One of the needs of the soul we discussed was purpose. Remember Column A purpose had to do with how we impact our circumstances and the lives of others by what we do. Jesus makes a statement about purpose that suggests a Column B assumption. Jesus says our purpose is to reflect the significance of God to others, using light and salt as illustrations. This view of purpose aligns with the spiritual orientation that we fulfill our purpose when our life points to and glorifies God rather than when we accomplish something significant that reflects our own glory.
Jesus uses three examples to point the students to how they are inclined naturally to meet God’s standard with a Column A view of doing the right thing. He states that you focus on the law that says, “do not kill,” but you hold anger and contempt for others in your heart – GUILTY. This is self-righteousness, using Column A thinking to view yourself as better than another. He says you focus on not committing adultery, but you are consumed by lust – GUILTY. In this way, Jesus points out that Column A thinking is wrongly focused on our actions, and that He wants us to be convinced of the futility of our efforts to be good.
Thirdly, He points out we trust in ourselves and not God. We are focused on trusting our own ability to meet our needs instead of trusting in God’s will for meeting our needs. Specifically, He says we set up rules for our own convenience, like divorcing our spouse, but in doing so, we ignore God’s will and desire for us – GUILTY. This is self-justification, using a Column A core assumption that man can establish the rules--instead of the Column B core assumption of trusting in what God has established as being right.
Earlier Jesus had explained the Kingdom this way, “You are fortunate you are rejected by the world around you because you are made righteous by God Himself.” In other words, seeking your approval from others is not the way to be made OK. In fact, God has already made you OK by His willful act on your behalf.
It is also true that justification involves judging. The Column A mind leads people to want to be the judge themselves and to determine what is right and who is OK. Jesus warns His students about Column A judging. He tells them that if they operate under a Column A type of judgment, where THEY decide who is guilty or not based on their own judgments of what is right and wrong, then THAT is the judgment they will receive. They will receive a “guilty verdict” based on what they do against the standard that they create. The thing that can make this tricky is that THIS morality we seek to fulfill may be our own standard or standards set up by society or maybe even the standards we THINK God has established. In a sense, Jesus is saying that when we depend on JUSTICE to determine what someone deserves, then that standard of justice is what will be applied to us. Jesus is basically repudiating Column A Justification. He is reminding us of its futility.
Jesus uses the example of wide and narrow gates to contrast the two ways for you to consider justification. He says Column A looks wide open, seems to be a good way to go, in fact, it feels very natural to use justice as the basis for determining who is guilty and who is not. Remember how we discussed in detail in session 5 that justice may be the greatest concern people have. Judging each other, and ourselves, by what we do is the most natural way to understand what makes us right or OK.
Column B is very “narrow” in a sense. It is narrow because it requires that we dismiss our own efforts to fulfill justice. Instead, we are asked to accept that God fulfilled the need for justice in another way. So, then, justice is NOT based on what WE (or others) do or don’t do. The reason the gate is narrow is because it is just so hard and so unnatural to see justice this way—that it is being accomplished by God and NOT by us.
He finishes His sermon by reminding His students of the futility of Column A and the fullness of Column B. He compares the two minds with a builder who has two options for building his house. The builder can build his house on sand, BUT when the storms come, his house will not withstand the pressure and will be destroyed. OR he can build his house on rock, so that when the storms come, the solid foundation will prevail and the house will not be destroyed.
Your human nature (carnal mind) produces the futility of the Column A set of core assumptions, which is a set of core assumptions that leads to destruction. Yet, God has acted on your behalf and in doing so, offers you a new identity. This new identity provides for an abundant and virtuous life that is influenced, instead, by the Column B set of core assumptions.
Jesus gives us in this historically profound sermon on core assumptions some GREAT NEWS. The Gospel is not just a great course of instruction; the Gospel transforms your mind from a focus on the REWARDS and RIGHTS you expect from this world to a focus on PROVISIONS and PRIVILEGES of the Heavenlies. By moving from Column A (Carnal) core assumptions to Column B (Spiritual) core assumptions, Jesus promises you will move from utter futility to complete fullness.