Whether you know it or not, today you acted and reacted according to your “world and life view.” That simply means that every decision you made, every action you took, every word you spoke was filtered through a certain mental grid.
For instance, most Americans who lived through the Great Depression viewed their world with some measure of fear that “it could happen again.” That fear became a big part of how they viewed their world, and it impacted how they lived. To this day, most of them pay by cash, refuse to borrow money, save, and generally live frugal lives.
My generation, however, has never seen a depression. Oh, we had the Carter recession, but that didn’t generally mean bread lines, people jumping out of windows, and mass unemployment. It also didn’t last decade. The recession was short-lived; so my generation has basically known nothing but the good times.
A never-ending supply of prosperity has infected most of us baby boomers and so, as a whole, we hardly save a dime, live from paycheck to paycheck, buy like there is no tomorrow, and think that all will be well indefinitely. Our world view has clearly impacted our lifestyles, and our debt balances reflect it.
Why do I bring this up? I write about it because I am deeply concerned that professing Christians in this nation are becoming increasingly schizophrenic. We say we believe the Bible is God’s Word and is authoritative for our lives, but then we turn right around and violate the principles and precepts of the Scriptures without giving it a second thought. We seem to be living with a very big “but” yes I know the Bible says … but you don’t know my situation. I just can’t. I honestly struggle with the “but” every year at this time when I have to work through my income taxes. I deplore the terrible waste in the use of so much of our tax money. So fudge a little—right? Everybody cuts whatever corners they can right? I deserve my own money more than the government does right? Wrong.
How do I know that thinking is wrong? Because I hear Jesus saying, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Now I have a decision to make. Will I honestly pay the taxes that I am required to payor will I take some shortcuts or lie to save some of those dollars for my family?
Or do I respond to all of life through a distinctly Christian worldview that interprets all of life through the lens of God’s Word? If so, I will swallow hard, diligently collect all the facts, type in the most honest figures I know, and pay my taxes accordingly regardless of how odious the bureaucratic confiscation of my money may be to me.
Think about it this way: “In every action we take, we are doing one of two things: We are either helping to create hell on earth or helping to bring down a foretaste of heaven.” Charles Colson, author of How Now Shall We Live, says that truth applies to every area of our life from accepting the wrong change (in our favor) at the checkout line, to filing for divorce even though we have no biblical warrant for doing so.
Colson goes on to remind us that “our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, good and beautiful. Our choices are shaped by worldview.” Your worldview mine are simply “the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the ‘big picture’ that directs our daily decisions and actions … Our major task in life is to discover what is true and to live in step with that truth”; but far too many believers fail to understand that Scripture is intended to be the basis for all of life.
Gary Cox is a minister of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lexington, NC.