Many years ago in a faraway land, Joseph lived with his father, his father’s wife and concubines, and many half-siblings. Joseph’s mother had died when he was very young. His half-brothers hated him because Joseph was good and reminded his father of Joseph’s beloved mother. Joseph’s father trusted him and showered him with attention. And his heavenly Father placed in his heart a vivid dream to become a great leader.
One day his jealous half-brothers captured him. After some disagreement they sold him to slave traders. Joseph had never been apart from his family. He felt humiliated being auctioned like livestock. His father hadn’t raised him to be a slave. He didn’t know the customs of this foreign land. How was he supposed to act? What would become of his dream?
Instead of becoming bitter, Joseph worked to become the best slave. His master put him over all he had. Despite the humiliation of his position, he prospered.
The owner’s wife noted his good looks and charisma. She repeatedly tried to seduce Joseph. When he refused her, she spitefully accused Joseph of attacking her. Potiphar, his owner, no doubt knew the character of his wife and of Joseph, but he bowed to social customs and sent Joseph to prison.
Joseph hadn’t been taught how to be a prisoner. Other prisoners moped and complained. Should he wallow in self-pity and bitterness too? Should he accept his victim status?
Joseph chose to act in the manner he always had. His circumstances didn’t change his character or his beliefs. He served the chief jailer with the same heart as he’d always served the Lord. The jailer rewarded him with more responsibilities.
One day the ruler of the land summoned Joseph from prison. Joseph offered the king wise counsel, and Pharaoh placed Joseph second in command over all of Egypt. His years of self-control and productivity in slavery and prison paid off in noble character and excellent leadership skills.
This is no fairytale. You can read the true account in Genesis. At times, like Joseph we may feel like we’ve awakened in a foreign land. Values have shifted, but right and wrong never change.
Joseph demonstrated the importance of what we call a Christian worldview. His character flourished even after suffering injustice because his core beliefs about God, himself, and life guided and guarded him through prosperity and adversity. Potiphar’s soul, on the other hand, suffered when he betrayed Joseph. I wonder how he felt when Joseph ruled under Pharaoh.
What Is a Worldview?
What is a worldview? Dr. George Barna renowned pollster and author, says everyone has a worldview though most don’t realize it. “A worldview is…the decision-making filter that we use. It’s the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual filter that helps us to understand and interpret and respond to every reality that we experience.”
In a recent interview with the NC Family Policy Council, Dr. Barna said fifty-two percent of American Christians believe they hold a Christian worldview, yet only nineteen percent demonstrated a Christian worldview.
Dr. Barna said Americans commonly draw from a dozen or so different worldviews including postmodernism, secular humanism, Marxism, and Eastern mysticism. It’s important to know if our beliefs are biblical, because as we think so we act.
When Worldviews Clash
Could the division we see in the church today over such issues as replacing equality with equity, Critical Race Theory, and Black Lives Matters trace back to our worldview? The Apostle Paul wrote, “for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Cor. 11:19 ESV).
Joseph demonstrated a biblical worldview when he trusted the invisible God despite how things looked. Hebrews 11 commended the ancients for a faith that shaped their view of the world and how they lived.
Popular worldviews elevate personal experience over facts, truth, and biblical revelation. The expression “my truth” epitomizes such a worldview. In contrast, in a biblical worldview human reasoning bows to God’s truth.
Joseph found the Bible’s perfect and timeless wisdom works in all situations (Is. 40:8). Jesus said, “the truth will set you free”—free from being manipulated by every new teaching, free from confusion, free from being led into error, and free from regret (Jn. 8:32; Ephes. 4:14-15).
Developing a Christian Worldview
Through poems, proverbs, instructions, and stories the Bible presents a clear message of right and wrong, how to treat people, how to deal with injustice, and God’s justice. For example, does the Bible favor treating people equally or with equity?
Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly” (Lev. 19:15 NLT).
Do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor” (Ex. 23:3 NLT).
When we’re confused over how to act in light of current issues, we need to return to the Scripture. As we invite the Holy Spirit to rule our hearts and are willing to submit to His guidance, He will direct our paths (Pro. 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 2:15).
Right and wrong never change. A biblical compass guides us through unexpected circumstances and topsy-turvy times. Like Joseph, our souls can find shelter under God’s favor.
In closing, notice how the assurances in the following passage apply to us today.
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them” (Ps. 19:7-11 NLT)
Links are highlighted in red.
- On July 22, 2021 at 7 p.m. EST, Brian and Denita Thomas will help us develop a Christian worldview in light of today’s issues on Zoom. If you’d like to attend this meeting, please contact me.
- Sir Nicholas Winton: an inspiring example of one who acted when he saw injustice.
- Cornerstone Conversation on Critical Race Theory with Dr. Ben Carson and Dr. Carol Swain
- Center for Biblical Worldview at the Family Research Council
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