A worldview is a way of understanding the world and your place in it. It’s a philosophy of life or a core set of beliefs and values that control your life.
Ask the man on the street, “What’s your worldview?” or “What’s your view of life?” and you’ll hear things like:
1. “Hey, to each his own.”
2. “You only go around once.”
3. “What’s right for you, is right for you.”
4. “As long as nobody gets hurt, go for it!”
5. “If it works for you, it’s fine with me.”
These are simplistic and self-serving ways of viewing life. If you care about something more than yourself, you’ll need a more thoughtful outlook or worldview. Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of worldview.
What is real?
Worldview addresses the question: What is real? People say things like, “Hey, reality for me is….” or “My reality is…..”.
Reality is usually shaped by the things that fill our lives and matter to us. For most people , reality is work, family, hobbies, sports, relationships, holidays, vacations, retirement, etc… These are the contexts that are real to our daily lives. This is where most people do life
But is there a larger reality than our daily activities? This is the nagging question behind the search for purpose and meaning. Humans intuitively long for a more ultimate reality. Is there a reality that injects meaning and depth into all other realities and one that stretches the human heart beyond this world toward eternity? There is more and God wants us to have a worldview that reaches beyond this world.
When God teaches a worldview lesson
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
God said, “I led you,” “I tested you” “I humbled you” “I caused you to hunger”—Why? “to teach you.”
God was teaching them the most important lesson one can learn. It was a worldview lesson. Here it is:
“Man does not live on bread alone.” Man lives “…on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”
If we reversed what God said, we would hear the worldview: “Man lives on bread alone.” This is the major division of worldview and it’s as old as humanity.
First worldview: “Man lives on bread alone”
What would it look like to live by this worldview?
Those who follow this worldview, live to sustain and enrich this life. Temporal relationships and possessions are the basis, purpose and meaning of life. Thoughts about God and eternity would only matter in relation to sustaining and enriching this life.
We are all born with this worldview as part of our nature. Our nature is so strongly inclined toward a life based on temporal fulfillment that we must be taught through trials (like the children of Israel) not to live by this code. Our opposition to seeing things any other way is so deeply lodged in us that it takes the force of hardship to dislodge it.
The worldview “Man lives on bread alone” is what we know by our five senses. We are naturally inclined toward measuring everything based on the temporal and the immediate (temperature, taste, comforts and pleasures). We easily live for what the eye desires, the flesh craves and what feeds our pride. This is the love of the world spoken addressed I John 2:15-17. It is contrasted with what is eternal in this text.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever (I John. 2:15-17).
Second worldview: “Man does not live on bread alone.”
If the first worldview is bound to what is earthly and temporal, what does this worldview look like? What difference does it make if (in this life) “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”?
This is a life of dependent obedience toward God. This is life lived in a personal relationship with the God who speaks. It is life “on/by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Here is the person who flourishes under God’s word—His laws, decrees, precepts, judgments, actions, warnings, promises, etc….(cf. Psalms 1; 19; 119; Proverbs 2:6).
Question:What causes us to transition from one worldview to the other? According to the text in Deuteronomy, the discipline of God is the catalyst that moves us. God said, “I led you,” “I tested you” “I humbled you” “I caused you to hunger”—Why? “to teach you”— to teach you the most important spiritual lesson one can learn: a worldview lesson: “Man does not live on bread alone.” “Man lives “…on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
One of the primary works of God in our lives is to loosen our grip on this life and transfer it to eternity (cf. Col. 3:1; I Jn. 2:15-17; Phil. 1:21; 3:8-10; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). Study these verses and you’ll see that this transfer is at the heart of spiritual transformation. In a kind of ironic way, learning and living this lesson in worldview is at the heart of living most meaningfully in this life.
God’s worldview lesson will lead us to ultimate reality that is finally and fully in Jesus Christ and His loving sacrifice for us.
Nowhere is this more powerfully described than in Colossians 1:15-20: “He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”