We do not have to be philosophers or theologians to have a worldview. It is that collection of knowledge and experience that forms the filter of how we interpret the world around us.
Worldviews have large and small components. They are both shared with the group, and unique to the individual. For instance, one can have a Christian worldview, and yet think very differently than other Christians. One can even have a Christian worldview and not be a Christian. Having a Christian worldview could mean that Christian thinking has influenced our minds, either by living in a Christianized culture, or by having parents that were shaped by a Christian environment. Much of the Western world has been influenced by the Bible.
On the flip side, a secular non-Christian worldview may be the greater influence over our thinking. We may have latched on more to what we were taught in public education than what we were taught at home. Alternatively, maybe we grew up glued to the television and our worldview became shaped by Hollywood. Perhaps, our politics become the lens we use interpret Scripture, instead of Scripture being the lens by which interpret politics.
Whatever broad category our thinking may be linked to, we also have individual experiences that shape how we think. A person may have the broad Christian worldview, but disagree with the Bible when it comes to defining marriage, the reality of miracles, or even the love of God. Life experiences can be a strong influence over the mind. These experiences can create spiritual resistance to God’s truth, and dictate a person’s worldview in these areas.
We often pick and choose throughout life what we will add to the way we see the world. Most of this is not done on purpose. We absorb the thinking around us like an open book. Instead of considering how we think, we simply think, speak, and act without thought of why we do so. We read the Scriptures and only see what fits into our worldview. We do not know we are doing this.
It is important that we approach the Bible to be challenged by its content. If we come away agreeing with everything we read, we probably missed something. As Christians, we are aiming to think in alignment with God’s Kingdom. Thus, we are not trying to hold on to our own way of looking at the world, but His way of looking at the world. We give up our way and accept His way.
It is the Holy Spirit that leads us in all truth. In all things, the Spirit is our primary informant as to what is true, good, and righteous. We read the Bible with the Holy Spirit. We are even to watch television, read books, and listen to people with the Holy Spirit. This way we discern the truth and strengthen our worldview.
The manner in which we think affects the manner in which we do life: it informs our choices. Our thinking impacts the world around us for good or ill. G.K. Chesterton wrote that “if we think wrong, we will go wrong.” When our thinking is off track, we may be transferring the error in thinking to our children, our friends, and co-workers. The greater our position of influence, the greater our potential becomes for shaping the minds of those around us.
Worldview is not simply a matter of doctrine. We can believe the Scriptures fully and miss the heart of God. Our thinking is not only a matter of our mind, but of our heart. Speaking the truth in love is an often quoted Scripture to validate our quest to reveal the sins of humanity. But Paul wrote that love covers a multitude of sins. Truth is more substantial than facts. Truth is not simply stating facts, but also for communicating the heart of God for a person (or nation). So when we speak the truth in love, we communicate the nature of God that is within our being. Our words are not empty, they have weight and power because they are love made manifest. It does not matter how gently or kindly we express true facts, if they lack the presence of God they will miss the mark.
Our worldview, if healthy, is always growing. It is encompassing a greater picture of the world. It is also narrowing in some areas as we fill in more detail, and broadening in other areas where we were small minded. It is growing in knowledge and experience, and is thickening in substance. It cannot be completely transcribed into a large book, because it is both heart and mind. Even God did not place His entire truth in a book, but in a Person. We often get the two confused. The Holy Spirit searches the depths of Jesus and reveals His Truth to our spirit.
Developing a healthy worldview is a journey that will never end. Most people absent-mindedly acquire their worldview. As Christians, we do life in Christ, and on purpose, rather than at the whim of our human nature. Therefore, let’s start thinking about how we think as we begin to shape our worldview in accordance with truth.
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