The Eternal Mindset
One major dilemma that we as modern Christians face today is that “the urgent always screams louder than what’s important.” While this quote from Craig Groeschel comes from a leadership podcast regarding how to be efficient and productive, I think the principle still rings true in even broader applications. It seems today that our world is constantly on fire with new hot topics and issues. In recent years our culture has been consumed by crises such as COVID-19, racism, transgender issues, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The problem for us, it seems, is that the moment, the now, captivates our thoughts, emotions, and attention. In modern culture, we are swept up in the urgency of the now. All of our attention is fixed on this moment. As Christians, it is easy to fall into this too – to be lost in the black hole of the now and get swept away by the undertow of cultural hot topics. At this point let me clarify: it is important to be culturally relevant and to address cultural issues. But we cannot allow ourselves to be swept up and driven by the culture in regard to how we view, process, and address what is happening in the world around us. We must train ourselves to be eternally minded – to see reality through the lens of the Truth, Christ Himself (Jn. 14:6).
Proverbs addresses this issue by drawing a sharp distinction between “the fool” and “the wise man.” Proverbs characterizes “the fool” as someone who always looks at the present moment and lives for the now. The wise person consistently and effectively links the now to an eternal perspective and is able to adjust his actions accordingly. Living with such wisdom is rooted in “the fear of the LORD” (Prov. 1:7). Fearing God allows us to view and engage this world through His word and in His way. In doing so, we understand how to live skillfully and avoid the destruction that awaits the wicked (Prov. 1:20-33).
In short, the book of Proverbs encourages us to have an eternal mindset. So how do we get this eternal mindset? Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 that we should “not be conformed (syschematizo) to this world, but be transformed (metamorpho) by the renewing of [our] mind.” In other words, we should not allow our “outward shape” (schema) to be formed by our surroundings, rather we should be transfigured in the “inner reality” (morphe) of who we are. Transformation of the inner self requires a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit and a persistent employment of the spiritual disciplines.
"Transformation of the inner self requires a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit and a persistent employment of the spiritual disciplines."
This inner transformation allows us to transform our environments. There is a stark difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. The names of both of these common household devices come from ancient Greek, and both have to do with the level of heat (therma) in a room. While the thermometer merely “measures” (meter) the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere, the thermostat is “fixed” and “stable” (stat) and causes the surrounding temperature to adjust to its setting. This means that while a thermometer is always changing with its surroundings, the thermostat changes its surroundings while remaining unchanging and immovable.
As Kingdom men, we are to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that [our] labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Therefore we must start by becoming ourselves men of wisdom, firm and immovable in the Truth of Christ. We must allow biblical truth to inform the way in which we both think about and engage our culture. Then we will be able to effectively address hot topics such as racism, abortion, or the transgender movement with an eternal and transformed mind. This will allow us to treat each person as an Image-bearer of God, and engage those who have opinions contrary to what we believe. It will allow us to become the peacemakers Jesus speaks of in His sermon on the mount, reconciling a world of rebels to a Holy God (Matt. 5:9, 2 Cor. 5:18-19).
Our world is in constant tumult, and it needs men of the Kingdom to obtain an eternal mindset and help bring the peace of Christ to a chaotic world.
 Craig Groeschel, The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, "Four Tiers of Efficiency," https://www.life.church/leadershippodcast/four-tiers-of-efficiency/ (Accessed August 28, 2022).
 Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from the New King James Version (NKJV).