Commentary: Shaping Your Worldview
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 05-May-18; 12 minutes
This is a subject that I have spoken on before. I did it most prominently during a sermon series focusing on Deuteronomy I gave at the Feast of Tabernacles a number of years ago.
Why should we be concerned about what our worldview might be? Here are some reasons. They are not listed one, two three; they are just in the narration here. The reason is because whether we have ever stopped to think seriously about what our specific worldview might be, it is quietly and without announcing itself influencing virtually every decision we make. Hang onto that.
Now, what if God is not a part of our worldview at all? Do we even dare to think that that lack would have no influence whatever on what our choices would be in any question involving life's purposes, morality, what we do with time, who we date and marry, how we spend money and what kind of work do we do? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and on and on it goes, always acting without a sound.
That one factor—the God factor—illustrates vividly how one factor within one's worldview impacts greatly on the degree of influence you receive as you view the choices that receive your attention as your life passes by your thinking processes each and every day. How you perceive life's choices at any given time, you are silently being influenced to some degree by your own past as you lived it and as you observed it. This is because one's worldview is formed largely from one's own past experiences, and those tend to repeat themselves.
Here is a simple question you may not have thought about before: Are you aware that everybody has his own worldview? I am not saying that everybody's personal worldview is radically different from everybody else's. I am saying that everybody's life experiences are in small increments different, thus making each person's worldview also slightly different. This is so because everybody's worldview is formed and shaped by one's life experiences, conclusions reached, and added to by the conclusion's effects.
Added into this mix is that not everybody's life experiences, nor conclusions reached, nor their effects, are precisely the same either. Thus, we should be able to accurately conclude that when dealing with a worldview, we are dealing with a generality rather than a specific, but it is usually quite specific for that person. Thus a worldview is the particular point of view through which we strongly tend to understand, or as we say, we see everything. Our worldview includes the total sum of our experiences, beliefs, values, feelings, and much more, all of which affect how we view the events of our life and interpret them.
This is important because one's worldview then guides the way we perceive or understand what is happening at that time within the framework of events you have already lived within and must reach conclusions with. Now, here is a conclusion, and I think that you can easily grasp that one's worldview is not exactly a constant. This is especially easily perceived if one is indeed growing in truth and understanding, or on the other hand, if one is radically degenerating. Either way, the mind is unsteady, and it is sliding about regarding finding certainties upon which to act. We ask ourselves, Do I act on this information or do I let it slide? We're looking for answers, see. Do I act on this information or do I let it slide? If I act on this information, how is it going to affect my life?
Our worldview contains what we call our values. All too many of them become, in short periods of time, as really nothing more than assumptions we barely ever stop to really think about. We simply adopt them, and they automatically influence us. It is that part that is really dangerous. They automatically influence us. We do not have to stop to think about it—it just happens.
Those assumptions are all too frequently really nothing more then the relative value we place on what we believe in, and thus make our judgments as to what is important to us—what we consider worthwhile or useless. Our worldview is exceedingly important because it gives us the guidance for virtually every action in life, and whether we like it or not, it is working automatically to give its guidance to make choices, 24/7.
The Bible never uses the term worldview. However the thrust of its teaching very strongly urges one to the point that it virtually expects us—as if the Bible was a living thing—it virtually expects us to understand everything moral by the truth the scriptures teach us about God and His way of life. It is God that gives us the Bible its expectation, because it's what He expects of us. Do we have the same worldview as He does? And I mean, brethren, in everything.
Now, here is the point in this commentary: It is a truth that one's worldview—listen to this—can be deliberately shaped by anyone who makes the effort. Most people allow it to be shaped simply by what happens by chance, rather than them actually shaping it by the course of deliberate choices. God said to Adam and Eve to not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden. That instruction was absolutely already within their worldview. The Word of God put it right into their minds by saying it verbally to them, and so that instruction was absolutely already within their worldview. But as you well know, their desires, aided by the lying assistance of the serpent, motivated them to override their present worldview that God Himself gave them.
Are you seeing what I am what I am saying here? We can override what God says if our worldview leads us in that direction—and theirs did! Now, what can we learn from Adam's and Eve's sin regarding a worldview? First, that a worldview given by God Himself even in person can be altered for evil, despite the fact that the source of that particular point of view that became part of your worldview was God Himself, as with Adam and Eve.
A second overall truth regarding one's worldview, taught right at the beginning of God's book, is this simple instruction: that a biblical worldview—that is, God's teaching of the correct worldview—is that all of life must be both rooted and nourished by a relationship with God, and we must practice submitting to what He gave as His worldview. So the truth Adam and Eve had regarding the danger of choosing to eat of that one particular tree was very definitely rooted in the very Word of God. "Nourished" is the keyword here now, and even a directly God-given spiritual worldview must be believed and used, or it will not influence in the right manner and direction, because worldviews are subject to change and sometimes, it seems, almost on a whim.