Summary: How we view the world is determined by the lens through which we see the world
The World Through God-Colored Glasses
October 1, 2006
I want to do a little experiment this morning. I’m going to volunteer a few of you to look through these various things to tell me what you see.
Wander congregation, ask them to describe what they see while looking at the same thing through different “lenses” such as a viewmaster, prism, funny-looking glasses, and rose-colored glasses)
Most of you have probably heard the phrase, “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.” In general, it speaks of a positive outlook on life. But the idea here is that how we see the world matters in what we make of it.
So, as believers, if we recognize that looking at the world through rose-colored glasses makes the world seem rose-colored, then we want to learn to look at the world through God-colored glasses, don’t we?
That’s clearly an oversimplification, but the idea is that we want to learn to see the world, and everything in it, as God sees it. So, the title of this morning’s message is God-colored glasses.
It’s a matter of perspective, which means, to see through. What you see through, the perspective you have, makes a difference.
There’s the story of a shoe manufacturer who decided to open the Congo market. He sent two salesmen to the undeveloped territory. One salesman cabled back: "Prospects here nil. No one wears shoes." The other salesman reported enthusiastically, "Market potential terrific! Everyone is barefooted."
How we respond to life, how we think about issues, depends on the perspective we have. How we see the world is our worldview, and worldview and perspective are closely related. Our perspective on life is how we think. So a Christian worldview means we think like a Christian.
It’s important to note how scripture views the use of, the importance of, our minds - our thinking. The fact is that scripture is clear about using our minds. Yet, in our culture, which relies so heavily on subjective personal experiences, and also, in many charismatic and evangelical circles, we’ve sometimes considered mind a four letter word. Yet, consider what scripture has to say about our minds.
Mark 12:30, quotes Deuteronomy in part, but these are the words of Jesus in describing what he called the "most important" commandment.
"the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
The Greek word here for the word mind is dee-ahn’-oy-ah -- which means "the mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring...” Other senses of the word include "a way of thinking and feeling" and literally, a “thinking through, or over, a meditation, reflecting..."
So, note that the Biblical idea of mind includes both thinking and feeling. We so often create this false separation between our hearts and our minds. Many Christians have lost the art of thinking, and how thinking and understanding is a vital part of our faith. We sometimes have an either/or mentality about heart versus mind – when in reality it should be both/and. It shouldn’t be heart versus mind, it should be heart and mind. We put heart and mind at odds with each other, and instead, need to recognize that they complement one another - in fact, in a biblical understanding, they are most often different aspects of one and the same thing.
I’ve been having an interesting email dialogue with Chris King over the past few weeks about postmodern ideas regarding experience, versus reason or rationality. As we’ve traded emails, he’s shown me some things. First of all, this quiet unassuming guy is a very deep thinker. Secondly, the dialogue has reminded me that this a false dichotomy. Pitting heart versus mind, separating reason and experience, can be a barrier for us as believers as we try to develop a fully Biblical worldview.
Finally, our dialogue has reminded me that, people have, at times, corrupted the idea of our minds that scripture speaks of. He sent me a quote by British theologian Colin Gunter, who suggested that:
“As created, reason is good; as fallen, it is extremely liable to prideful ascendency to the throne of man’s life.”
So, before we move forward this morning, let’s be absolutely clear. The thinking part of our minds, or our rational thought, cannot be, and is not, our sole means of access to God. Apart from Christ, our minds are prone to pride. It’s only as we are sanctified in Him that our reason is sanctified. Yet, as believers, we are commanded, as in the passage we read from Mark, to love God with our minds.
That leads me to focus this morning on Romans 12:2, which we could call a key worldview verse.
Romans 12:2 (NIV) 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.