We have been thinking about the biblical practices necessary to obtain spiritual discernment. Here is what we have learned thus far.

# 1 – Learn to separate principles from personalities

# 2 – Pray for spiritual discernment, and value it above all our other personal requests.

># 3 – Seek to grow in your spiritual maturity.

# 4 – Search for Biblical examples where spiritual discernment was applied to a life situation.

Let’s continue with one more biblical practice of discernment.

# 5 – Learn to handle your obligations Biblically.

We are often in a quandary when it comes to our obligations. For instance, should we refuse to pay our taxes because they are being used for ungodly and unbiblical purposes such as funding abortion and diverting monies to organizations that are immoral and unbiblical in their practices? What if you work for a company that is using some of its profits to support immoral organizations and provide charitable funds for causes that are diametrically opposed to Biblical truth? And what about the matter of investing our funds in diverse markets, some of which in turn invest funds in unbiblical and immoral ways? These are not easy matters to decide. Spiritual discernment is much needed. Jesus faced something similar to this and his power of discernment was remarkable. Here is the Biblical account of Jesus’ dilemma. It is found in Matthew 22. The text is dealing with a joint attempt by the Herodians and Pharisees to make Jesus stumble in front of His own people. Here is the context of Jesus’s discerning response of “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The Herodians were a non-religious Jewish group who were Herod’s supporters and sympathetic to the Roman government. They thought that Christ’s teaching and influence were contrary to their own interests. The Pharisees on the other hand, were members of an ancient Jewish sect who believed in strictly observing the oral traditions and the Mosiac law. They refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, despite the miraculous evidence to the contrary. These two entities were not friends at all, but they had one common goal: discredit and destroy Jesus.

So here was their strategy. Jesus had just finished sharing some parables with the crowd. They saw an opportunity to put Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. In Matt. 22:17 they said to Jesus: “Tell us, then what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Now this was a trick question. If Jesus said “No,” then the Heroidans would charge Him with treason against Rome. If He answered“Yes” then the Pharisees would accuse Him of disloyalty to the Jewish nation, and He would lose the support of the crowds. This was certainly a catch-22 issue for Jesus. Jesus’ answer is a powerful example of spiritual discernment. In 22:18-19 we read “But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax. And they brought him a denarius.’”

Now remember that the denarius was a coin used as the tax money at the time, made of silver with an image of the Roman emperor on it calling him divine. The Jews considered such images idolatrous, forbidden by the second commandment. So if Jesus had said “yes” then they would accuse him of breaking the second commandment.

Jesus asked them whose inscription was on the coin and they all answered “Caesars.” Then He wisely said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

Jesus answer shows incredible discernment, for He recognized that there is a sharp distinction between the two kingdoms. After all they had already been using this coin in everyday business and commerce. That is Caesar’s kingdom and he holds power over it in a sense. But there is another kingdom, not of this world, where Jesus is king. Temporarily, we are part of both kingdoms. Someone has wisely commented: “Caesar minted coins, as he had a right to do, and he demanded some coins in return as was his right. God has ‘minted’ the human soul, and He has stamped His image on everyone. Make sure you are honoring God with His right as well.”

So to answer the issues of obligation, we must discern the difference between the two kingdoms. Some things we have no control over and thus must give to Caesar what is rightfully his (even though we do not agree with what he does with it) while making sure we are rendering to God what is rightfully His. This is a conflict we must live with which makes us long for the day of righteousness in which our King of Glory will literally rule overall! Think it thru!



We have been thinking about the biblical practices necessary to obtain spiritual discernment. Here is what we have learned thus far.

# 1 Learn to separate principles from personalities.

# 2Pray for spiritual discernment, and value it above all our other personal requests.

# 3 – Seek to grow in your spiritual maturity.

# 4Search for Biblical examples where spiritual discernment was applied to a life situation

In Acts 8 Peter faced a situation in which a man named Simon claimed to be born again. In v. 13 we are told that this Simon, the magician,  himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.  We are then told in the text that he desired Peter to give him the ability to give the Holy Spirit to others as he had observed Peter and the apostles laying hands on some who had believed. Simon even offered money for the privilege.  Peter’s answer was one of great spiritual discernment. He told Simon  that his silver should perish with him because he thought this is a gift that could be obtained by money. Peter called on him to repent because his heart was not right.  But it is in verse 23 we see the exercise of discernment regarding Simon’s true state. Peter said: “For I see (perceive, discern) that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Peter sensed when he added everything up that he saw and heard from Simon, that he was not truly born again. Peter had preached the Gospel and many had been born again, yet this man’s confession Peter discerned was not authentic. Peter saw through Simon’s “conversion” as something that Simon wished to use to further his magic power reputation. And Peter discerned that. We will be called on as well to discern whether some situations presented to us for a decision are authentic or not.

Let me give you another example.  Paul, in writing to the Corinthians had to teach the Corinthian church how to be discerning about certain practices that they were erroneously justifying.  They were forbidding some to not eat certain foods for false reasons.  Paul responded with these words of great discernment: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Here Paul rightly discerns that there are many things we have the liberty to do, but in the long run we have to understand those actions are not helpful, so we should refrain. Paul also rightly discerns that there are actions we can take that are not necessarily wrong, but they can enslave us or control us to ultimate bad outcomes. We should refrain from such actions. Take alcohol consumption.  There is nothing that says drinking in moderation is sin. But according to Proverbs and Paul’s discernment rule here, it would not be wise to indulge in such practices, for we all know where it has led to enslavement and addiction. Many other practices (love of money, sexual preoccupation, etc) also must be taken under this discernment umbrella. And we will continue.  Think it thru.


It seems we have moved into a era devoid of discernment. Some people would call this common sense. But discernment is a bit more that just common sense.
When we face issues that require a decision on our part and when we see and hear things in our world of culture, government, education, and social interactions that are troublesome, there is often a struggle to discern what is true, right and wise.Tim Challies in his book “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment” speaks to how critical discernment is to the believer. “In a world where truth is downplayed and ambiguity is embraced, discernment is indispensable to an active and engaged Christian faith.”

First, let’s define what we mean by discernment. At the basic level discernment is the ability to judge well. It is a wise way of judging between things, or a particularly perceptive way of seeing things. In a Biblical sense it can describe the process of determining God’s desire in a situation or the direction of  one’s life or identifying the true nature of a thing, such as discerning whether a thing is good, evil, wise, or unwise. Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. This is not the biblical meaning of discernment.
Wisdom is a close kin to discernment. Discernment is a practical application of the skill of life (wisdom). We often speak of moral discernment for instance. That is the the capacity to discern—to observe and make sense or meaning—which is central to one’s ability to make ethical choices and to take moral action. Having discernment is critical to living wisely. If we lack a capacity to discern then we lack a capacity to see clearly the good from the bad, the ugly from the beautiful, the right from the wrong, the wise from the unwise, and yes, see the difference between the fleshly and carnal vs the spiritual and godly. Discernment also stresses accuracy, as in “the ability to see the truth.” Thus, when we speak of spiritual discernment we are talking about the ability to tell the difference between truth and error. It is basic to having wisdom.

I want to propose some basic biblical practices that will help us exercise godly discernment in life issues and circumstances. But there is one clarification. People who know Jesus Christ and thus have the Holy Spirit resident in their lives, have a distinct advantage. The power and wisdom of the Spirit are available to them. The Holy Spirit is called the spirit of wisdom and he uses the word  of God to guide men in discernment. In fact the first mention of wisdom in the Bible is associated with the Spirit of God. In Exodus 28:3 we read “And you shall speak to all that are wise-hearted (skilled) whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom (skill).” This same truth is repeated in Exodus 35:31 and Deuteronomy. 34:9.

Here are the “discernment” practices:

# 1 – Learn to separate principles from personalities. Just because someone is nice, a good friend, and well thought of does not mean that they are a reliable source for discernment. Job’s friends were with him through the severe upheavals of his life, but offered poor advice regarding how he should discern the issues he faced. For instance, Eliphaz said that Job was doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God (Job 15:4). Bildad said that Job had no posterity or progeny among his people and such is the place of him who knows not God (Job 18:19-21). Zophar said that Job was but reaping the results of his wicked ways as all wicked do by his possessions being carried away (Job 20:27-29). But all of these friends were dead wrong. God rebukes them because they had not spoken of him “what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job. 42:8). Job exercised discernment because he separated biblical principles from the personalities of his friends. He saw God as the one who gives and takes away and he knew blessing the name of the Lord was the right and wise response (Job1:21-22; 2:10).

# 2 – Pray for spiritual discernment, and value it above all our other personal requests. You will do this when you recognize that God is the only one who can increase wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 2:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26; James 1:5; Philippians 1:9). Knowing the wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice. That is why we must  go to the Word of God to learn the truth and, by meditation on the Word, we can reinforce the truth by trusting the Holy Spirit to impress and guide us in understanding and choosing the wise course. By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). We will know God’s character and will. This is the heart of spiritual discernment – being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God, to have a sense that “this is right” or “this is wrong.” Spiritual discernment fends off temptation and allows us to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). As we come to the word of God, our prayers will be rightly formed to know what to ask and what to look for as we discern life’s choices and circumstances. One cannot help but recall Solomon’s response to God’s offer of a blessing of his choice. Solomon chose to ask for discernment to govern wisely the people of God (1 Kings 3:6-9). Solomon calls his request a desire for an understanding mind so that he can discern between good and evil.  The words,”an understanding mind” lit. means “a hearing or listening heart.” Solomon wanted a heart that would pay attention to the word of God. God’s response in 3:12b was to grant him that request: “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”

# 3 – Seek to grow in your spiritual maturity. Lack of discernment is proof of your spiritual immaturity. The writer of Hebrews has a problem with his intended audience. They were dull of hearing meaning that they were struggling with understanding the basic truths he was teaching. They were not stupid or unlearned or unable to grasp what he was saying. They had become spiritually immature people and thus they lacked discernment. “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Many believers do not grow in spiritual maturity. The story is told of a little boy who fell out of bed. Asked what happened, he said, “I guess I just stayed too close to the gettin’-in place.” That is exactly why many people fail to grow after their conversion – they stay too close to the “gettin’-in” place and do not grow to maturity.

Growing in spiritual maturity begins with a spirit of humility.  Our pride will lie to us and tell us we have arrived. Having a teachable and moldable spirit provides the healthy soil that the soul needs to grow in maturity . Humility is typically understood to concern a modest evaluation of yourself or a refusal to assert or aggrandize yourself. In reality it is a posturing of the self that does not seek its own glory. It is the just the opposite of pride which seeks to idolize one’s self, made evident in the words of 1 Peter 5:5, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 

Growing in spiritual maturity requires exercise. Paul admonished Timothy to exercise himself toward godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). The writer of Hebrews tells us that those who are of full age (mature in the faith) by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

Growing in Spiritual maturity demands healthy nourishment. In Acts 17:11 we are told that the Bereans were able to determine whether truth was taught because they searched the Scriptures DAILY. We need regular nourishment.

We will continue in our next post to consider other biblical practices for acquiring the capacity for spiritual discernment. THINK IT THRU!


Remember our basic premise? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” Paul gives us a clue to staying strong. This clue explains his own resiliency in life and ministry. It is this: He trained himself to go the distance. He sees life as a long term race, not a short term sprint. There are many people who discovered Paul’s ingredient for staying strong in the midst of change. We have considered David, Mary and Asaph.  We have examined three keys for staying strong in the midst of change learned from these saints of God.

# 1 – Choose to build the strength of your inner life (Psalm 119:28).

# 2 – Take wisdom from what God has already taught you on your past journey (Luke 2:19).

# 3 – Be courageous to embrace biblical values when all around you move the other way (Psalm 73).

We want to take a closer look at the Apostle Paul himself and discover yet another key for staying strong in the midst of change.

# 4 – Live every day pursuing the big picture not the little cluttering images we are  challenged with. It was in Acts 26:15-18 where Paul recounts his conversion with King Agrippa that he was captured by the big picture for his life.

15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 19 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

It is no wonder that Paul emphatically testified to the Philippians that he forgot those things which were behind him and kept straining forward to what was ahead of him, so much so that he confessed that he pressed on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul told Agrippa that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. In spite of all the changes and challenges and cluttering images that life threw at him, Paul just kept living in the “big picture” of his life.

Gordon MacDonald in his book “A Resilient Life,”  reminds us of the Life of Moses. He recalls that Moses learned to live in the big picture. But it took forty years of of desert training and reaching the age of 80 no less before he got it (Exodus 3:6,10; 4:12)

6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Gordon observes something very critical about Moses: “Now Moses had his big picture and his marching orders. They never changed. Everything in his life, from this point forward, was measured against this large-view orientation.”

He concludes by warning us when you have no big picture by which you are living then “Life comes to resemble a bunny track–furtive darting to and fro, lots of motion, little direction.”

Remember Paul’s observation that we can become people who are “…tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

Are your eyes opened to the big picture of your life, and to what things would look like when the curtain falls on the last act?

Ask yourself  the following questions:

[1] How has God gifted me to serve him and am I using those gifts?

In other words, what have I been equipped to accomplish?

[2] What am I living for and what is getting in my way?

[3] What does God want me to give out of my life to make the difference in the end?       Think it thru


STAY STRONG 4You will recall that Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” Paul gives us a clue to staying strong. This clue explains his own resiliency in life and ministry. It is this: He trained himself to go the distance. He sees life as a long term race, not a short term sprint. There are many people who discovered Paul’s ingredient for staying strong in the midst of change. We looked at David and Mary last time. 

# 1 – Choose to build the strength of your inner life (Psalm 119:28)

# 2 – Take wisdom from what God has already taught you on your past journey (Luke 2:19)

I would like for us to consider a man by the name of Asaph who found himself in the midst of dramatic change and it threw him for a time. But he learned a key ingredient for staying strong in the middle of those changes much like Paul, David, and Mary.

# 3 – Be courageous to embrace biblical values when all around you move the other way. Asaph, in Psalm 73 learned this the hard way. He was struggling with those in his own culture who were at ease, rich, and appeared to be “riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels” while he himself was constantly struggling. They had abandoned biblical values and seemed to have a better life because of it. Asaph was envious, discouraged and even frustrated by what he saw around him (73:16, 21a). But something happened to him. Like a flashing beacon the word “until” jumps out at us in the text. In 73:17 it all turned around for Asaph. “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” Asaph was able to evaluate time in light of eternity and earth in the light of heaven. He looked at the godless people and thought to himself that they had everything a heart could desire. Later though, he changes his mind because he realizes that he is the one who has everything because he has God. “My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” His value system was readjusted. Having the right values gives us strength for the days ahead. The missionary martyr Jim Elliot thought the right values where a matter of life and death. That is why he said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” When Asaph gathered with the people of God he regained his perspective and his courage. Take courage to live by God’s right and wrong declarations not by the pressure and prosperity of those who are moving the other way. Don’t miss those last words of v. 17-18. Asaph saw the end of those who departed from God’s value system. They had no strength to survive “…then I discerned their end.Truly you set them in slippery places, you make them fall to ruin.”
And there are some more ingredients to come. Think it thru!


Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.” As you trace all the changes in the Apostle Paul’s life, it looks like a country road. There were sharp bends when he could not see what was coming around the bend (the flight from Ephesus for his life, the departure of Demus, the stoning at Lystra). There were bridges out (trying to go to Mysia, then trying to go to Bithynia…). There were potholes and washouts (imprisonments and scourgings, and betrayals by friends). AND YET, Paul forged on strong in his calling and faith. How did he do it and how do we do it? We have come through political change, health changes, societal change and on the list goes. What’s next? I will tell you, more change.
Now Paul gives us a clue to staying strong. This clue explains his own resiliency in life and ministry. It is this: He trained himself to go the distance. He saw life as a long term race, not a short term sprint. There are some key ingredients that help us maintain the pace of training necessary to stay strong in the midst of change.

# 1 – Choose to build the strength of your inner life. Your relationship to the word of God is the key to inner strength. Your love and passion for the word of God will build a kind of stamina in your inner life that will prepare you for the emergencies and contingencies you will face as you run the race. Bill Toomey, the Decathlon gold medal winner for the United States in Mexico City described how he was able to endure and finish the race strong. He said, “Whatever pursuit you undertake, the requirements should start with a love of what it is that you are pursuing.” David said in Psalm 119:20 “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” and Psalm 119:40 “Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!” I think of Daniel as he and his friends were being enticed away from the race God had set for them. His words echo the strength of his inner life. “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine” (Dan.1:8). The discipline of resolve is grown by constant injection of the life-strengthening word of God. Psalm 119:28 says “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” Listen to Psalm 119:5-6 “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.”
So there is the first key ingredient for staying strong in the midst of change. We make a decision to build the strength of our inner life by means of God’s word! Notice the second ingredient.

# 2 – Take wisdom from what God has already taught you on your past journey. There is nothing so strength-giving than to look back for a moment and notice how God fortified you for what you are or will be facing next. Remember what Mary, the mother of Jesus, did at the birth of Jesus? Facing tremendous stress and anxiety as Herod’s henchmen come to Bethlehem seeking her baby’s life, Mary found strength to forge ahead. How did Mary gain the strength to undergo all of these things that came hurtling at her? The text in Luke 2:19 explains how she did it. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She took wisdom from all that had been told her…the angels, the shepherd’s testimony, and all the parts of her journey. She saw God’s hand at work in mighty ways. She drew wisdom from that to move forward with strength. God was still at work. God’s work is not static but on a continuous line of progress in our lives. God worked yesterday! We can rejoice in that and be comforted by that. God is working today. We can take strength from that as we move forward. God will work tomorrow! We can draw hope for all that will come to us tomorrow. That is God’s way of working things out in our lives. Recall the moment when Joshua asked Israel to choose twelve men to pick up some stones and carry them out and place them in the midst of the Jordon River? This is what he said about that: “These stones will serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD…These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:1-7). So here is the second key ingredient for staying strong in the midst of change. We take wisdom from what God has already taught us on our past journey.

Next time, we will look at some other key ingredients for staying strong in the midst of change. Think it thru.


I know. The title sounds negative, doesn’t it? With the COVID virus going on and a tumultuous election season just past, many are wanting to hear something positive. Shouldn’t we say something positive about Christmas celebrations? But that is just the thing. Christmas is good news…or at least at one time, it was. Is it possible that the good news has become buried under shallow “stuff”? We drag out the manger scene to make us feel like we haven’t left Jesus out. We sing carols to spread a sense of good emotional well-being. We give gifts to people we love because…well, we love them and it is Christmas.
We do not debate that Jesus came to this earth. But we bury the reasons WHY He came under some very shallow wrapping paper. We “shallow-ize” Christmas (yes I know, there is no such word. I made it up…but I think it is a fake word that communicates engaging in shallowness).
We think of a soft, cuddly Jesus, and light candles to give that warm glow around our celebrations. But in reality, He came as a warrior soldier to do battle. We had some enemies Jesus engaged on our behalf. Our sin held us as prisoners and proves to be one of our worst enemies. No wonder Paul said in Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death….” Sin is a very strong enemy because all it has ever done is hurt us and seek to destroy us! But Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:24 that “He [Christ] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
And of course, Satan stands as our enemy and Jesus took him down on the cross. Recall Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since then the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death (His death on Calvary’s cross), He might destroy him who had the power of death that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
And don’t forget God was our enemy. Paul states in Romans 5:10 that we were enemies of God and in Colossians 1:21 that we were alienated from God and were enemies in our minds toward God. But Christ reconciled us to God and fought for us to make us no longer God’s enemies. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20) And in 2 Corinthians 5:18 Paul states clearly that “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”
He went out on the battlefield and faced our enemies so we could go into the Father’s home and be at peace!! He bridged the divide between God and man. We are in need of reconciliation, not God. We are the guilty party deserving of judgment. Oh, but Christ came… Unwrap this at Christmas. The warrior Jesus came on the scene to win the battle for us AND HE DID!!
But the story doesn’t stop there. Paul says something very interesting about our warrior prince in Ephesians 4:8-10. Admittedly this text has some mystery to it, yet there is a glorious realization in it. “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. (in saying ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Paul speaks of the ascension of Christ as an act that followed the triumphant resurrection in which he set us captives free and gave gifts through the Spirit of God to the church. Paul also feels compelled to speak of his decension too. He came down to the lower part of the earth which I believe is just a metaphor for the lowest state of humiliation. Heaven stands in opposition to the earth. One is above, the other is beneath. From the one, Christ descended to the other. He did not just come to earth but he stooped to the most humble condition of humanity while here.
He came down so far that we might go up so far. He came down to where we were to bring us up to where He is (John 14:3). When a man trusts Christ as his Savior, he comes from a descended existence to an ascended promise. Now that is Christmas brought out from under the shallow wrappings where we have hidden Jesus!
I am thankful Jesus came into this world as a baby, and that His coming was motivated by love and grace, but make no mistake…this was no ordinary child…meek and mild. This person we call Jesus Christ was a warrior prince who went to war on our behalf…and WON! Maybe we should hang a “soldier figure” on the Christmas tree and tell our kids the whole story! Think it thru


We have been examining the matter of a Christian worldview. Let me remind you that our worldview shapes all of our thinking on moral, social, economic, and psychological issues. That is why it is so critical to get the right world view. I remind you again that the Apostle Paul stated his concern clearly on this matter in Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” We are considering how to form a Biblical world view and live by it. We considered the  first two steps:

Step one: We must decide who will be the ultimate authority in life for us.

Step two: We must commit ourselves to see all of life in relation to Christ.

Now let’s consider the last two steps.

Step three: We must accept an unchanging foundation to rest our worldview on-namely the Scripture. Matthew 24:35 states clearly that “…heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Hebrews 6:13-15, 17-18 affirms the following: For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,  saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”  And thus Abraham,having patiently waited, obtained the promise. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”

The foundation upon which we rest our belief system is only as good as its ability to endure and prove reliable. We need to stand on something to sustain and hold us up through life (“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). One of the old hymns  speaks of “Standing on the Promises of God.” The second verse states, “standing on the promises that cannot fail.” The fourth verse reads, “standing on the promises I cannot fall.” These verses declare a simple truth: when standing on the promises of God, we cannot fall because the promises of God cannot fail.

Psalm 119:89 gives additional assurance about the unchanging foundation of the Word of God. “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” There is something satisfying, and settling about having your belief system resting on something that will not change–ever. There is another old hymn that expresses the unchangeable nature of God and His word.The second verse of Abide with Me, goes like this:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Our worldview may grow and develop in maturity, but when it is anchored on the unchanging foundation of scripture we are safe, firmly rooted for whatever storms assault our lives.  We do not have the time or the wisdom to experiment with worldview options. Go for the gold from the start. Let the scripture dictate  what you believe about science, sociology, psychology, government, marriage, vocational ethics, etc. It will never steer you wrong. It is rock-solid!! You will find it more than sufficient to govern rightly your belief system. Read Psalm 119 and listen to why the Psalmist based his worldview on the Scriptures!

Step four: We must believe that sin and evil are offensive to God. R. C. Sproul used to say “If we understand who God is, and catch a glimpse of His majesty, purity, and holiness, then we are instantly aware of the extent of our own corruption….That is the dilemma that Scripture sets before us: we have a holy God whose image we bear and whose image it is our fundamental responsibility as human beings to mirror—yet we are not holy.”

This is a day of extreme toleration.  Sin and evil are  called good. When man sins, excuses are given on a wide-range of possibilities. We tolerate it in ourselves because we see it in others. We feel smugly righteous if we discount the evil and sin we see in others and conclude we are loving and kind by not mentioning or condemning such actions and behaviors. R. C. Sproul’s take on this very idea is compelling:

When we sin, we want to describe our sinful activity in terms of a mistake, as if that softens or mitigates the guilt involved. We don’t think it’s wrong for a child to add two and two and come up with five. We know the answer’s wrong, but we don’t spank the child and say, “You’re bad, because you made five out of two and two instead of four.” We think of mistakes as being part of the human condition. But as I said to that pastor, if one of us is wrong, it would be because he came to the Scriptures while wanting it to agree with him, rather than wanting to agree with the Scriptures. We tend to come biased, and we distort the very Word of God to escape the judgment that comes from it.

Listen to Psalm 16:2 “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” The psalmist’s worldview was that God was Holy and he was not.  There was a divide between himself and God that he could not bridge. Isaiah’s testimony confirms this biblical reality. “And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'” (Isaiah 6:5)

The importance of this step in forming a biblical world view is that it draws the rightful conclusion that man needs a Savior. He does not need rehabilitated, he needs redeemed. He does not need reformed, he needs transformed entirely from the inside out. He does not need refurbished, he needs rescued.  He does not need a makeover, He needs a totally new creation.  Our worldview as believers embraces the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only hope man has.  It is the Gospel that confesses to the Holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. The coming of Christ to die on the cross, to be buried, and to rise again the third day, substituting Himself for sinners admits to the truth that the people of this world need saving from their sins!

Do you have a biblical world view? Are you willing to take the steps it requires to form a biblical world view and then live by it?  Think it thru!!!



A survey conducted by the Barna Research Groups determined that only four percent of Americans have a biblical worldview. Even more alarming, only nine percent of born-again believers in America have a Christian worldview. This should not surprise us when we observe the fractures in our psyche, our social networks, family life trends, our denigrating of authority, and our moral confusion.
Our worldview shapes all of our thinking on moral, social, economic, and psychological issues. That is why it is so critical to get the right world view.
The Apostle Paul stated his concern clearly on this matter in Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Any world view that excludes Christ and the Biblical perspective God gives us in His Word on life and death will lead us to ruin both now and for all eternity. That is a very serious matter!
So how do we form a biblical worldview and live by it?

Step one: We must decide who will be the ultimate authority in life for us.
This is the critical first step. Until this matter is decided, then a right and biblical worldview is impossible to embrace. The prophet Isaiah in 45:5 of his book quotes God: “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me.” The God of the Bible, not a god I invent in my mind, is the only safe authority to submit to. He is the true and right “equipping one” that gives us in life what is needed to live rightly and wisely.
The consequences of this decision are clearly spelled out in Rom. 1:20-25
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.”
Did you catch all the worldview mistakes that are made when we do not honor God as God, as the ultimate authority in our lives? We become futile in our thinking, we have darkness that clouds our being, and we give “away the store” by thinking we are ok and do not realize that we have become fools, trading away the one thing we had going for us (the glory of God) resulting in abandonment by God Himself. Choose carefully what authority will dictate your thinking and decision making. Your worldview determines your outcome.

Step two: We must commit ourselves to see all of life in relation to Christ. This step is also critical because it helps us hold the right perspective on all we see, feel, and experience. Col. 3:3-4 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Did you catch those words? “…your life is hidden with Christ in God” and “When Christ who is your life….” Our heavenly identity may not seem like much in the eyes of the world, but it is real nonetheless. We have not been physically transported to heaven nor do we look any different from those around us who still belong to this world. One day, when Christ comes, we will change. In the meantime our true status is hidden, and though we don’t look much different, we certainly need to live differently. We are to see all of life in relation to Christ Himself. What He has done (saved us), what is He doing (interceding for us), and what He will do (come again for us).  We must perceive life here and live life here with the reality that Christ is making the difference both today and tomorrow. Paul says Christ IS our life. In Philippians 1:21 Paul’s testimony was simply this: “For to me to live is Christ…” J. A. Medders tells the story of having a shirt when he was in high school that said: “Basketball is Life. The Rest Is Just Details.” Later on in life, he commented: “What a dumb and sad shirt!” We hear people say “my kids are my life, or my job is my life. But our worldview is simply that those things cannot define us. My success in life is not my life. Christ is my life. My mistakes and failures are not my life, Christ is. My job is not my life, Christ is. My life is not even my life (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Christ is my life. His victory is my victory. His reward is my reward. His righteousness is my righteousness. His home is my home. His Father is my father. We see all of life in relation to Christ. We make a commitment to see and evaluate all of life in relation to Christ! That is the second step to embracing a biblical world view. Remember something or someone will define your life and its trajectory. We dare not get this wrong! If it is not Christ, then our worldview is faulty and will lead us into the proverbial “ditch.”

We will continue in our next blog with the final steps needed to embracing a biblical worldview.  Think it Thru!


What is a worldview anyway? Oregon State University (Ken Funk – March 1, 2001)) defines a worldview as:
“A set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of Reality that ground and influence all one’s perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. One’s worldview is also referred to as one’s philosophy, philosophy of life, mindset, outlook on life, formula for life, ideology, faith, or even religion.”

James Anderson from Ligonier Ministries commented on a defined world view like this:
As the word itself suggests, a worldview is an overall view of the world. It’s not a physical view of the world, but rather a philosophical view, an all-encompassing perspective on everything that exists and matters to us. A person’s worldview represents his most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe he inhabits. It reflects how he would answer all the “big questions” of human existence: fundamental questions about who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where (if anywhere) we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now.”

Believers in Christ hold what we call a Biblical worldview. This is a framework of ideas and beliefs through which a Christian individual, group or culture interprets the world and interacts with it based on the teachings of the Bible.

How significant then is the worldview that you hold? You might say to me: Why should I be concerned about my own worldview? And just maybe you are thinking, that you don’t even know if you have one. 

Let me give you three points to ponder right upfront. Here they are:

  • One, everyone forms a worldview. You have one whether you know it or not. Your worldview is what informs all of your life. It determines what you do with your life and all the choices you make in your life.
  • Two, your worldview will take you either in the right direction or the wrong direction in this life. Your view of the world will determine how you think, how you respond to all the scenarios life presents to you, and how you make decisions about all of that.  And your worldview is the deciding factor as to whether you are moving in the right direction or wrong direction.
  • Three, your worldview will decide where you will spend eternity after this life is over. What you believe about God, death, morality, and authority has eternal consequences for you.

Think about this: If your worldview is erroneous, then your behavior will be misguided, even wrong. Even worse, if you are not conscious of your worldview and fail to appeal to it as a basis for your thoughts and actions, you will find yourself at the mercy of your emotions, your impulses, and your reactions. This means that you will be inclined to “follow the crowd” and conform to social and cultural norms and patterns of thought and behavior regardless of their truth, value, or merit. And where you end up exposes your worldview choices which will prove either delightful or disastrous!

Let me give you an example. Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, in a recent daily briefing broadcast hit the nail on the head when he said the upcoming election is not about politics or personalities, nor about whether one is a republican or democrat, but simply and basically about worldview. What you believe about God, the world, and your own life purpose is really what is driving all the issues, and will ultimately determine how you vote. In other words, we better listen carefully to the candidates’ worldviews for that will guide their platform on the issues. Let me say this again. The worldview one holds is highly significant for it dictates all the decisions one makes and all the subsequent actions one takes.

Here’s another example of worldview impact. Alex Trebek, the host of the game show Jeopardy, back in 2019 was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He made this statement sometime after his diagnosis: “Because I understand that death is part of life. And I’ve lived a long life…When death happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of it?”  His worldview is reflected in his confession where he says he does not believe in a specific god nor ”a particular version of the afterlife.”

Glenn Schultz in his public blog dated October 21, 2018, states that the foundation stone of every worldview is formed by how one answers this one question. Who or what is my ultimate authority?
I believe his statement has merit because how you answer this question, determines what you believe about God. And what you believe about God, in turn, shapes what you believe about every other component of your worldview. A biblical worldview is based on who God is. If one doesn’t know God, he/she will never have a truly biblical worldview that can direct all of life wisely and in the flow of true reality.

Solomon wrote in Prov. 1:7 that
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Later he followed up in Prov. 9:10 with the truth that
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Tim Keller wrote the following piece of advice based on what Solomon taught us:
“The beginning of all wisdom is the “fear of the Lord.” But how do we know if we are relating to the real God? The answer is there is no real knowing of God unless we know him through his Word. Otherwise we are creating a God out of our imagination.” And I might add, you cannot really know the Word of God unless you know the Living Word who is Jesus Christ Himself! Jesus said that no one could really get to know God apart from Himself (John 14:6-9).

In part two of How Significant is your Worldview, we will talk about why a biblical world view is vital to life and death. Then we will talk about the steps involved in forming a right world view from the Word of God. Think it Thru