The Vertical & Horizontal

Read: Matthew 7:24-27
I attended a conference last month in which Duane Litfen, President Emeritus of Wheaton College was one of the main speakers.  He spoke about the challenges of understanding these confusing times we live in and what Christians should be doing in relation to them.  He said, “We are vertical Christians living in a horizontal world.”
What he means by that is we live in a world that has a “just us” worldview.  Horizontal means that we are the focus of all things and there is nothing outside of ourselves.  As followers of Jesus we know this is not how our resurrected Lord lived or taught us to live. Duane was encouraging us to live with a vertical focus on God in everything we do.
In 1 Chronicles 1 there is a list of the many tribes of Judah.  Of Issachar’s tribe it says that they understood the times and knew what they should do.  This is a good reminder for Christians today as we live in these confusing times. We need to understand the horizontal slant of the world and be able to retain our vertical transcendent focus on the ways of Jesus.  His desire for us is to seek after God instead of subscribing to the “just us” worldview that tends to ignore the creator and focuses only on what we want and desire.
Jesus warned us about this in Matthew 7 when he shared the parable of the wise and foolish builders.  Those who build their lives on the shifting sands of culture and the world will find their house soon washed away because it was not built on the rock solid foundation of God’s plan and purpose.  In other words, if we turn our back on the vertical to go along with the horizontal the consequences could be disastrous. C.S. Lewis said it well when he wrote, “Everything that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”
Make it Personal:  Before you accept the blowing winds of culture be sure to consider the vertical implications involved.  Is it pulling you away from God’s purpose and plan? Does it line up with what God’s Word says? Are you focusing more on the horizontal (worldly) things in life than the vertical (transcendent) things?  Jesus is asking, “Where and on what are you building your life?”
Have a vertically focused week everyone, Pastor Glen Rhodes