Thursday, October 2, 2008

Worldview: Godly or Secular? Part I

Everybody has a worldview, which is the lens through which we view world events, life, death, God, the spiritual realm, and personal experiences. Typically a person’s worldview will also guide a person’s actions, decision-making, and responses to problems. A person’s worldview is formed by their life experiences, their education, the media, the culture they come from, their religious beliefs, and their parents.

In this country, there are two general divisions: those who have a biblically informed worldview, and those who have a secular worldview. I want to explore this topic as it relates to us and to various events today.

Informed by the Spirit

The Apostle Paul writes about the work of the Holy Spirit in1 Corinthians 2:10:

These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. NRSV

A significant work of the Spirit is to give us understanding of spiritual things. However, we will never get that understanding if we don’t devote time to studying the Bible – we don’t get it by osmosis. As we study the Bible, pray, and meditate, the Spirit works within us to give us understanding and the ability to apply biblical truths to our own lives. If we aren’t exposed to the biblical teachings, then we are left with whatever the world is telling us. That’s why I keep emphasizing small group studies and daily devotions. Listening to a sermon every Sunday is certainly helpful (and I encourage it), but a small group study really gets you deeper into God’s Word. When you are tuned in to the Spirit, you will respond differently to your own problems and current events.

Informed by the World

1. God’s Wisdom vs. Human Wisdom

We do that because we realize our true citizenship is in heaven, and we are here only temporarily. This life isn’t an end in itself, but is a preparation for the next life. Despite that, many people invest entirely too much in this life, and far too little in the next. What, you may ask, is wrong with worldly things? After all, God created the world and put us in it. rue, but the problem is that the world’s values and wisdom are often in conflict with what God tells us. The Apostle Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8a:

Yet among the mature, we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this... NRSV

What Paul is telling us is that even the worldly rulers and elites often don’t understand spiritual things because they are spiritually discerned. As a result, despite their wisdom, intelligence, and education, they are often lacking the wisdom and insight that comes only from God. That doesn’t mean they are evil, because many of them are good, well-intentioned and decent people. It does mean, however, that they are operating out of a worldview that generally isn’t consistent with God’s view. When you deviate from God’s view, you are relying faulty human wisdom, which isn’t based on God’s principles but on flawed human thinking. I would rather rely on the wisdom of Almighty God than to imperfect human thinking.

More on this topic in a future post.

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