Did you know that each of us has constructed a worldview? We draw from our experiences, good and bad, building our unique perspective on life. How we perceive everything is determined in part by how we were raised. Some people are nurtured by two loving parents while others come from broken homes. Some people are born in wealth, while others only know generations of poverty. A background of education, church, and work, or the lack thereof, all contribute to shaping a person. Without even realizing it, brick by brick, we are continually building our world view.
What does going home for Christmas mean to you? Someone from a big city might reminisce about the bright holiday lights strung through a busy downtown. It might warm their heart thinking of crowds bustling from store to store with armfuls of packages. Christmas for another person might mean the quiet solitude of a tiny cabin set back in a snow-covered hollow. Whether someone grew up in the mountains of Tennessee or on the tropical islands of Hawaii, their interpretation of Christmas will differ. And yet, these varying images will produce for each of them a familiar sense of home.
Our view of God is shaped in the same way. How we grow up, how we are taught, even how people treat us - all will influence our perspective of God. For example, many times our view of our heavenly Father is determined by the relationship we have with our dad.
This conglomeration of mind-sets ends up sitting in the pews of every church. The church is then charged with communicating the Word of God in a way which cuts through any misconceptions and presents the truth accurately. This is a holy calling. The kingdom of God is to be planted and established all over the world, despite the differences in world views or theology.
The culture of our Father and His kingdom is the only true unifying force. His principles unite people from every country and from every walk of life.
Most of the time we try to force the Scriptures to fit our own perspective, rather than allowing God’s word to shape us. After filtering the truths of God through our preconceived notions and beliefs, we distort the teachings of the Bible and ultimately do not experience the promises and blessings. God’s living Word challenges the very core of what we believe and even how we think.
Refusing to abandon preconceived beliefs as we study the Bible is like refusing to discard the old sofa in our living room when bringing in a new one. We must abandon the way we once thought so that we can fully embrace what is new. Holding on to an old mind-set impedes the fullness of God’s Word in our lives, and keeps us on our same old path of living.
Matthew 9:17 emphasizes this new life, saying, "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."