I love sports, in general, and really enjoy watching them both live and on TV. That being said, there are some that I don’t care very much about. Typically, the ones I enjoy most are the ones I know more about and those I don’t watch are those I know less about.
There are a couple of sports that I have gotten into deep enough to gain a fair amount of understanding. I played football and baseball in my younger years and was a fairly decent athlete at that level. More recently I got into karate. In fact, I am a 4th degree black belt in that sport. Since I actually participated in these sports, I really appreciate the intricacies and various strategies involved and, thus, enjoy them more.
On the other hand, I don’t really have much use for ice hockey. I will watch it on TV occasionally if there is nothing else on. Having watched it off and on over the years I know a few of the rules but not enough to really appreciate the intricacies of the game. I could say the same about soccer.
Then there are those games that I really won’t watch at all because I have absolutely no understanding of them. I don’t know beans about cricket. As such, I would get bored silly if I were to watch it for very long.
The fact is, in virtually every area of life, we tend to appreciate the things we know something about and ignore the things we don’t know. In this article, we want to explore that concept as it relates to the topic of worldview. Because the topic of worldview has, in the past, primarily been associated with academic study, and because it is relatively new on the scene as a tool for spiritual growth and witness, most Christians still don’t have a real sense of the profound power that could be at their fingertips. As a result, it is still overlooked to a great extent in favor of other kinds of knowledge that is more familiar.
It is my hope and prayer that you will not let this be said about you. Understanding the principles of worldview can literally change your perspective on your faith life and witness. The truth is, this knowledge can help your relationship with God become more clear and more personal than you have ever experienced before. On top of that, it can make you a more confident and effective witness than you ever imagined possible.
These wonderful results, though, are not without effort. There is a knowledge and skill base that is necessary for anything you want to become proficient at. This is as true related to an understanding of worldview as it is of sports. But I can honestly say, if you will make some effort to grasp this knowledge base, your faith will literally be transformed.
But just what, specifically, are the benefits we can expect? There are four really big ones that I would like to share with you here.
1. When You Want To Get Your Own Life Sorted Out
When you discover things in your life that are not the way you want them to be, they will stay that way until you take some initiative to change them. The fact is, we must be proactive if we wish to grow. An understanding of worldview gives us that potential.
First of all, your worldview is the foundation for your life. Everything you do in every part of your life is an expression of your worldview beliefs. As you examine your life, it is very probable that you will come across things that you don’t like. These may be certain habits, attitudes or even lifestyle matters. Whatever they are, they are a part of your life because at the very deepest level of your belief system (your worldview) you have somehow approved of them being there. If they were not a part of your worldview foundation, you would have either already eliminated them or they would never have been there in the first place.
If there are activities and attitudes in your life that you do not like and/or know are not right, an understanding of worldview can help you discover and root them out. This is not to say that it will be easy. Old habits and lifestyles die hard. But until you grasp what part of your current worldview is allowing them to be there, you can’t even work on them.
A second way an understanding of worldview can help you get your own life sorted out relates to your spiritual development. What you believe about God and your relationship with him at a worldview level is expressed in your life. If you are not observing yourself growing spiritually, then you have worldview beliefs which indicate that you don’t think spiritual growth is so important. Intellectual acknowledgment of what is right is not the same as the worldview belief you hold. It is very common for people to recognize what is wrong yet for some reason give themselves permission to choose it anyway.
However, if you have an understanding of your worldview, you have the capability to see where you want to go in your life and use that as a basis for planning your spiritual growth into the future. By that, your personal spiritual development can explode forward in ways that are not possible without that awareness.
2. When You Want to Share Your Faith
It used to be that virtually everyone in America operated off of a Judeo-Christian worldview. Even people who were not regulars in church at least believed in God and the Bible. That is simply not the case any more. A very large segment of the population now adhere to other belief systems. And even many of those who claim to be Christians have allowed elements of Naturalism and other worldviews to creep into their lives to create defacto hybrids.
Since so many people do not fully acknowledge Biblical teachings as the Truth about reality, sharing your faith using the traditional approach to witnessing simply will not work. The traditional approach assumes, on the front end, that the person you are speaking with already understands and believes in the God of the Bible. If they don’t have that understanding and belief, starting with the assumption that they do will not get you anywhere.
A knowledge of worldview gives us the information we need to start our witness at a point where the hearer can at least understand what we are talking about. For instance, if a person doesn’t believe in God, we have to somehow get them to acknowledge the possibility that there is a God before they will even listen to us. Or, if someone believes that there are many god’s, we have to somehow bring them to the possibility that there might only be one, then explain who he is. An understanding of worldview is almost essential when we are dealing with people who come from other worldviews.
3. When Someone Tries to Evangelize You
Have you ever had a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon come up and try to share their faith with you? Did you know what to say back to them? Perhaps your response was to either hide when you saw them coming or just try to get away as quickly as possible?
When you don’t know how to deal with someone who is trying to evangelize you to their faith, it can be quite frightening. So just what is the antidote to this problem? It is nothing more than a dose of worldview knowledge.
The arena of knowledge which will supply you with the most powerful way to deal with this kind of situation is worldview. By this, you can discern almost immediately where someone is coming from and thus never be frustrated or taken off guard.
An understanding of worldview can help you with this even if you are dealing with a belief system you have never heard of before. In addition, it gives you a way of comparing this other belief with your own in a way which lets you know what the differences are and what is wrong with what you are hearing. Armed with this knowledge, not only can you stand strong in the face of an attempt to evangelize you, you will be able to share a witness back to them.
4. When You Get Attacked
It did not used to be so much of a problem, but in our time it is not at all unusual for people who are anti-Christian to attack Christians simply out of meanness. There are even officially recognized organizations whose specific mission is the elimination of all things Christian from the public square.
People who have this kind of animosity toward our faith have all kinds of ways that they try to put us down. They do it by attacking the validity of the Bible, asserting that science has done away with the need for faith, or even attacking the teachings and lives of various Christian individuals.
These kinds of attacks can be very disconcerting for anyone who is not prepared to meet them. That being said, there is not a single attack that cannot be dealt with by Christians who are prepared. An understanding of worldview is one of the greatest tools a person can have to thwart these assaults. With worldview understanding, we have the tools to break down any attack and turn it back on the attacker. Of course, we must always be careful that we have the right kind of attitude when dealing with this kind of person. Still, it is not necessary for us to be anyone’s doormat. It is possible to stand up for our faith and we should be equipped and prepared to do it.
Using Our Knowledge
The purpose of having a knowledge of worldview is not simply to be able to out debate other people, though there can be value in that ability under certain circumstances. Rather, it is to be equipped to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives. God wants us to be in love with him and actively engage him in an intimate relationship. God wants us to share our faith with those who are outside of his kingdom so as to build it larger and stronger. God wants us to be able to face down false teachers when they confront us individually or begin to cause problems within the body of believers. And God wants us to have the ability to stand strong in the face of those who have an intent to destroy the work of God in the world.
An understanding of worldview is a tool which is very powerful in helping us with each of these four areas. One of the big problems with acquiring this understanding in our own lives is that it is not a kind of knowledge that comes without cost. This kind of knowledge is not the “milk of the Word” – the basics of the gospel message. Rather this is “meat.” This is advanced understanding of our faith that requires diligence and persistence in the process of incorporating it into one’s life. This is not to say that it is necessarily that difficult to grasp. But intellectually grasping it is not enough. It must be both apprehended and implemented into life.
That being said, grasping this understanding is worth all of the effort that is required. When you truly begin to understand the concept of worldview and its implications for your faith life, your Christian faith will quickly move to a higher level than you ever imagined possible.
© 2009 Freddy Davis