Every person has a world view. Simply put, a world view is a way of looking at the world and events surrounding it through a lens mostly made up of personal experience, education, and understanding.
For instance, suppose I grew up understanding existence as merely the process of evolutionary selection. I learned in school that Charles Darwin “proved” we evolved from lower life forms. My experience normally tells me that “survival of the fittest” is how the world works. Weaker species are always at the mercy of the stronger. Therefore, my understanding of life will form my world view.
Perhaps you have a world view that says life is only what we experience here and now. What you experience in the moment is all that matters. This view says there is nothing beyond the grave. So, I might as well attempt to make as much money as possible and live in the fast lane, because when I breathe my last, I will have died with the most toys.
Enter: Jesus Christ.
Regardless of your previous world view, having an encounter with Jesus will challenge your current world view. Let’s look at some of those who had their views challenged and changed.
Abram lived in a culture that said it was perfectly fine for a man to believe in any number of gods, worshipping idols of all kinds. A man could even have many wives. But Abram (renamed by God to Abraham) had an encounter with the Lord. He was totally changed. He became monotheistic (believing in the one, true Creator God), and he committed to having one wife (monogamous), Sarah. He then moved to a strange land. Why? Because the Lord told him to. His world view was changed because of his encounter with God.
Then there’s the rich young ruler who met with Jesus. This man’s world view said that because he was so wealthy, and had prestige and power, he was already blessed of God. But Jesus burst his bubble and challenged him to change his world view. He was to go and sell everything he had, give it to the poor, and then he would have treasure in heaven. Of course, he would need to follow Jesus. He sadly walked away, refusing to change, even though Jesus offered him eternal life.
Paul is my final example. He was fully immersed in religious education and training, having been taught by Gamaliel himself. Paul was a Pharisee, and was recruited to persecute this new religious sect called Christians. He was very good at his job. He even believed he was doing God’s will. But, surprise, surprise, he had an encounter with Jesus which completely changed his world view.
So why is a world view so important? Because it will determine how you live your life. For me personally, I came to a crisis thirty-five years ago. Up to that point I had embraced a world view that went something like this: “Seek as much pleasure in life as you can.” This is called hedonism. I ran the bars, chased after women, often took unnecessary risks just for the thrill of the moment, and sought pleasure wherever it could be found. As I considered life, there was an emptiness. All the self-pleasure I engaged in left me asking the question, “So what?”
Much to my surprise, I unexpectedly had an encounter with Jesus. As the Apostle Paul experienced, scales fell from his blinded eyes and he was changed. I, too, experienced a change in my life. My eyes were opened to the truth that God loves me. Jesus died for me. My world view radically changed. Life was no longer about me. It’s about God and my relationship with him. I made this choice thirty-five years ago this week.
How about you? What is your world view?