I was recently watching an expert give his opinion on a recent event. At first his opinion sounded OK, especially given the fact that he was proclaimed an expert. But the more I listened, the more I felt a check in my spirit. Something didn’t sit quite right with me.
The incident led me to ask some hard but pivotal questions. Questions like, how am I going to decipher truth in a world of voices shouting all sorts of contradictory claims? What am I going to let inform my worldview — popular opinion or what God thinks? And how am I going to navigate life amidst global uncertainty?
A poorly filtered cup of coffee
If you are a coffee drinker, you know that when it comes to a good cup of coffee, filters matter. The same is true of our worldview. Filters help shape the way we view the world and what we do with the information we receive. For many people, their political ideology is the filter they use to form their opinions. For some, it’s pop culture.
The global climate has made it very clear to me how important it is for me to filter everything through Scripture.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
When we read Scripture, we are filling ourselves with truth that informs how we view the world. Jesus asserted that He is the truth (John 14:6), and the Bible introduces us to Jesus’ teachings and actions. So, when we read Scripture, we are giving Him the opportunity to enlighten our minds with godly wisdom.
The books we read, the podcasts and radio programs we listen to, the shows and movies we watch, the social media feeds we follow, the news outlets we check, even the music we enjoy — these all feed us information. If we aren’t using Scripture to filter all that information, we are at a greater risk of allowing those things to determine our worldview.
There is an old adage that goes, “Knowledge will tell you how to build a bridge, but wisdom will tell you if you need to.” God’s wisdom not only helps us identify truth; it helps us know the proper way to respond to what’s happening around us.
Setting up the filter and putting it to use
So how does the Bible filter and inform our worldview? To be honest, this has been especially difficult for me in this current climate of unrest and uncertainty. Everyone seems to have an opinion (including me), but no one seems to have an answer. One verse that has been of tremendous help to me is Matthew 7:16. Jesus tells us that you can tell a tree by its fruit.
For example, as I reflected on the expert’s advice on the program I was watching, it seemed like it was based solely in fear, and lacked a logical and rational base. Broken down, his advice was to put oneself first, but was camouflaged as an advice of acting for the benefit of others. It suddenly occurred to me that this expert’s advice on how people should react to the particular event stood in direct contradiction to the selfless life Jesus displayed.
Now when I’m trying to decide if information I’ve received should influence my opinion, I try to ask myself what the inevitable fruit will be. Will it produce in me the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5), or will it produce the bad fruit of selfishness, greed, anger, or others? If it doesn’t lead to good fruit, then I know I shouldn’t let it inform my outlook.
Of course, there are still times where I run through this “fruit check,” and am left feeling uncertain about how to best move forward. And for those times, too, the Bible offers us hope.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells us a parable of two men who built houses. One man built his on a foundation of sand, and the other man built his on a foundation of rock. Eventually, both men’s homes were hit by a tremendous storm. The house built on the sand toppled, while the house built on the rock weathered the storm. Jesus explained that the foundation of rock represented His teachings and our obedience to them. As uncertainty grows around the globe, we can be sure that when we follow Jesus, He will remain with us, anchoring us in the midst of the storm.
There are many complex and layered issues we face in our world. Psalm 119:105 declares, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” In a world of growing uncertainty and complexity, it comforts me to know that God has given me a light to illuminate my path. That light is Jesus, and I can get to know Him in the pages of the Bible.
As we process endless streams of information in our daily lives, I hope and pray we are filtering it through the truth of Scripture. If we do this, we can be confident the Holy Spirit will illuminate our path for us.
Daniel Hamlin is an author, surfer, and speaker from the Central Coast of California. Since the release of his first book in 2015 Hamlin has spoken at churches and ministries throughout the world. He also holds a degree in Biblical Studies. Find out more at www.danielhamlin.org