Our natural world view is influenced/shaped primarily by our view of God. Think of the worldview differences among an atheist, an active jihadist and a born-again follower of Jesus–these difference come from their divergent views of who and what God is.
Our understanding of God, in turn, flows from our religion, culture, home, experiences, and the values we choose to live by. Our world view then determines our personal beliefs, our values and thereby our behavior.
Beliefs @ God->World view-> personal beliefs –>values –>behavior
Our world view is held primarily on an emotional level, not an intellectual one; that’s why most people are unaware of what their own world view is; that’s why just giving them knowledge alone wonn’t change their world view.
Here are some categories that can help us understand our world view.
Beliefs about God (what He is like and how much He is involved in our lives)
Orientation of society (group vs individual)
Type of society (guilt or shame or fear)
Top values (ones we actually live by)
Top relationship (what we focus on)
How we get top value (what we have to do to procure it)
Implementation (how is this lived out)
Let’s look at two examples:
USA Worldview: (“average Joe” nonbeliever world view)
Beliefs about God: nice guy who wants me to be happy and helps me out when I need it.
Orientation of society: individualism (extreme)
Type of society: guilt (vaguely)
Top value: comfort (think of how often we say, “that’s outside my comfort zone,” or “I’m not comfortable doing that.”)
How to get the top value: avoid anything that makes me uncomfortable, focus on self, no means too extreme to protect my comfort.
Top relationship: me
How to get top value: protect myself, think of myself first.
Implementation: focus on self leads to self-centered gratification, gluttony, materialism and addictions, laziness, broken families and relationships, relative “truth,” dishonesty, abortion, euthanasia, etc.
Now a Middle Eastern world view:
Beliefs about God—Distant, uninvolved, capricious. Therefore I have to look out for myself, especially in the area of honor. (these insights came from discussions with Middle Easterners).
Orientation of society—Group/community oriented
Type of society—shame/honor society
Top values— positive:Honor/negative: shame
How to get top value: must get it through fitting in, looking honorable (good), protecting self.
Implementation—the struggle for honor results in jealousy, cutting off of relationships with those who dishonor me; there is insecurity and fear (I can lose my honor at any moment); materialism (I need to look good, dress well so can have honor); emphasis on appearance and connections leaves character underdeveloped; there is powerful pressure for conformity, no questioning allowed, intolerance leading to violence against non-conformers.
Beliefs about God: Holy, Just, Loving, Powerful, Righteous. He is Love, Light and Life. He is the Ruler of the universe, fully involved in our lives and loves us greatly; we can totally trust Him, follow Him, love Him. As Creator, King and Lord He is to be obeyed.
He hates sin and judges it, while at the same time He loves the sinner, and provides a way of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He invites those who are His enemies to become His beloved children.
Orientation of society: individual (with God) and community (in Body of Christ).
Type of society: guilt/shame/fear. Honor, salvation and worth are given by God, not earned or from people. Guilt and shame are taken care of with forgiveness provided by Christ’s death and resurrection.
Top value: Glorifying, pleasing God
Top relationship: God
How to get top value: Spend time with God, learn His Word, be filled with His Spirit, learn how much He loves us and love Him back through obedience; grasp that God gives us all the honor, significance, security we can ever need.
Implementation: Among many things, as we cultivate our relationship with God:
–We enter more and more into the rich, transforming, grace-filled relationship with God as Lord, King, Savior and Protector.
–We experience ongoing growth in seeing God’s holiness and our depravity, what we deserve and how much we are forgiven and loved in Christ.
–We see continual growth and transformation as we partner with Jesus in His great plan. Each problem, difficulty and challenge becomes an opportunity for trust and praise, to live in His grace, for giving Him glory.
–Life is one long adventure with Jesus as He moves history to a conclusion and takes us with Him.
Check out your own worldview. How does it line up with a biblical one? The shift of our worldview from a natural one to a biblical one is a lifelong process; it goes faster when we knowingly cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work.
Intentionally nurture your first love for Jesus, seeing both His glory and our sin; this will lead to revival, which should lead to shifts in our worldview. When you read the Bible each day, ask the Spirit to alert you to points where your thinking, values and lifestyle clash with what God has to say. Be ready for new insights, for surrender, for paradigm shifts, so you can be more useful life for Him.