What is a worldview and why is it important?

Understanding the components of a worldview and then understanding your worldview is critical to living successfully in the world where you live.

Our worldview connects us with the DNA of meaning. We each have a grid through which we view the world and our place in it. This view shapes our understanding of truth, beauty and reality and who we are in an accumulation of our exposure to life’s input. When we couple our inputs of life, what we term experience, with the DNA of our birth, we wrap our arms around who we are. However, there are at least two different perspectives that are formed in this process. One is the internal understanding of who we are and the other is what we understand makes up our external world. Both of these understandings come together to explain who we are.

We can gain further insight into this phenomena by observing that the glass is either half full or half empty. When separated into distinct camps, we are a positive or a negative. This proclivity is one of the elements that shape our worldview. Some of us embrace the ills of society and conclude that a greater power, usually government, can solve the ills and provide for a group of people the best. Others believe that each individual has a personal responsibility to steer their future and, that in fact, the government that governs least is best. The grand experiment that we call The United States of America is living proof of the dichotomy and the desire for safety, security, and opportunity.

“The voices in our lives shape how we understand and interpret the character and nature of reality.” (The 210 project: p, 47) Those voices include trusted advisors and bitter enemies. They include close family members and utter strangers.  Vetting those voices is critical yet it is likely that we will reflect closely with those we listen to. If you watch CNN you will get one view of the world and if you watch Fox news you will get a totally different perspective.

As a society, we are increasingly dividing ourselves into groups or segments that are walled off from each other. When we restrict our listening to only one point of view, we lose the opportunity to evaluate fully and decide clearly. While I may not agree with you, I do want to understand what you are saying, thinking and feeling. And of course, asking for the same opportunity in return.

As Christians, our worldview is shaped by an additional set of inputs. Paul, John and the other apostles and writers of scripture consistently warn us about the dangers of being sucked into the priorities of a world that does not operate as followers of Jesus or recognize the sovereignty of the one God. When we come to the point where we are committed to following Jesus, a whole new set of voices show up. The source of those voices is God the Father and the ones we hear are delivered by men and women who have a relationship with him.

Our worldview is dramatically different from everyone else. The whole set of experiences that created our worldview are now open to transformation and change. But change can be scary.

The difference between a Millennial worldview and a Gen X worldview is huge. When we bring the boomers into the mix, the differences become even greater. Overlaying these different worldviews with Jesus’ input creates a complex set of variables.

There is another way to look at the issues. One that makes it simpler rather than more complicated. Let’s start with love, for example. Jesus’ command to love your neighbors as yourself is not a hard one to understand. Nor is it hard to apply in virtually every situation regardless of your worldview. Putting the “master’s sense” over everything else is the way Christians can operate in a dramatically changing world.

In many ways, laying a Jesus view over a cultural life view is a formula for success. It is a formula that will guide us from one circumstance to the next; from one issue to the next; from one complex relationship to the next.

A worldview is important because it is the bumper guard of life. It sets up the parameters within which our lives are led. Love God, Spread the Word and Encourage others is part of my worldview. When I get bad news, it provides perspective. When I get good news, it provides perspective. When I’m perplexed as to what to do, it helps lay out a solution path.

Give your worldview some reflection, time in prayer and time in the Bible. As we grow older the combination of experience and applied perspective is valuable. God is always preparing us for the next chapter of our life. What part of that chapter will impact others and build the Kingdom? Another way of thinking about our worldview is to examine our capacity to be self-aware. When we know ourselves, it helps us to know how we are prepared for that next stage of God’s call on our lives.

Bruce Bruinsma